826 Michigan is a non-profit tutoring and writing center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their charter is to help students learn to write, develop their creative and expository writing skills and help teachers inspire their kids.
But while that is cool and all, it is the way that they encourage and the kids and fund (part of) the project that I think goes way beyond awesome. By design, 826 Michigan is located in the back room of Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair. A somewhat kitschy and totally geeky retail store that sells all manners of robot related things.
The program started in 2002 with writer Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari in San Francisco. Their first space was 826 Valencia where zoning and lease rules required some retail activity to occur on the property. So rather than opening a standard retail store, or even a writing supply store, they decided to sell Pirate Supplies, and the idea took off. There are now 826 chapters in NYC, Los Angeles, Michigan, Seattle, Chicago and Boston. Each one has a different themed store, a great sense of community and a great vision.
So what’s Woot got to do with it? Well, famed designer and graphic novelist and artist Chris Ware (creator of Jimmy Corrigan) has teamed up with Shirt.Woot to design and produce this robot themed shirt for August 26th. So get on over to Shirt.Woot, it’s only $10 including shipping, and buy yourself some good karma.
There is no need to wait, or be polite about it, shove your way to the front of the line and buy a few. I’ve already bought mine.