• Chapter 510 & the Dept. Make Believe

    A Made-in-Oakland Writing Center (and Magical Bureaucracy)

    Chapter 510 provides free in-school tutoring, creative writing workshops, and publishing opportunities for K-12 students in Oakland.

    We share a vision for Oakland as a place where our youth and their perspectives are visible and our teachers are honored and supported.


    We've been working in schools since 2013, and are now in the process of building Oakland's very first writing center for youth at 2301 Telegraph Avenue.


    Like the chapters of 826 National, we are a volunteer-powered organization that recognizes young people’s ability to communicate powerfully through words and print.



    This fall and spring we will launch more free programming at our center, including after-school tutoring and writing workshops, Saturday drop-in writing labs, and fieldtrip opportunities for OUSD educators.

    The Dept. of Make Believe

    The Dept. of Make Believe is Chapter 510's interactive magical bureaucracy (and retail store) located here at 2301Telegraph.

    Bureaucratic services include Permits to Make Believe, Licenses to Dream, Creative Manifestation Filing, Dehydrated Courage, procrastination supplies, and high fives.

    Come visit us on Saturdays from 11am - 5pm or during our First Friday open houses from 5pm - 9pm.  



    Join Chapter 510's growing community of educators, artists, parents, and students.


    Work side by side with youth and teachers.


    Chapter 510 volunteers support youth and teachers through tutoring, creative and expository writing workshops, and publishing youth voices.


    We're currently looking for volunteers to help with programming during 2016 school year.: writers, bookmakers, educators, grantwriters, designers, artists, (magical) retail store clerks, event ninjas, contractors, painters, builders, and makers. If you have a passion for Oakland, youth, writing, and/or art, we will find a place for you.


    Join us by filling out our online pledge form!


    Help us reach $510,000 by 10/1! We're over half-way there.

    Thanks to our Make Believers, we've raised $291,00 since the launch of our MAKE | BELIEVE campaign on May 1, 2015. The campaign will come to an end in Sept., so donate today to help us reach our goal to complete the build on our writing center. Plus, if you Make believe with us, we will send you some amazing things.


    Extend your classroom community

    Want Chapter 510 in your classroom? 

    Supporting teachers in Oakland


    Chapter 510 provides teaching artists and trained volunteers to support teachers in the classroom and provide one-to-one writing support for their students. Chapter 510 helps students strengthen their creative and expository writing skills in order to cultivate creativity and create conditions for academic achievement. 


    Want Chapter 510 in your classroom or school? Let us know at classroom@chapter510.org.


    Fall Internships

    We are currently looking for 2-3 passionate interns to help us build and run our programs, First Friday events, communications and social media, and magical retail center at our writing center in downtown Oakland.

    You can read more about the internship opportunity here.


    If you are interested, please email a cover letter and resume to Tavia Stewart/COO.


    Oakland Student, Parent, or Educator?


    Sign up for fall and spring enrollment opportunities!

    For Oakland Students and Parents

    If you are an parent or student (age 8-18) who would like more information about upcoming writing workshops, camps, and tutoring opportunities, fill our our Young Writer Sign-up Form.

    Workshops and camps are open to all Bay Area students, but we prioritize Oakland residents. For our free after-school tutoring we will be accepting students in need who are enrolled in the Oakland Unified School District. 

    For Oakland Educators

    If you are a OUSD educator or administrator and would like more information about bringing your classroom in for a writing and bookmaking field trip or would like to pass along information about tutoring and writing workshops to your students and their families, fill our our Classroom Sign-up Form.  

  • 2016 EVENTS

    Workshops, readings, mixers and more

    First Friday at the Dept. of Make Believe

    5 PM to 9 PM, Friday, October 7 at 2301 Telegraph Ave. Oakland

    It’s A Celebration Y’all!

    Come out to celebrate Writer in Residence Brooke Doak's project, deshret, take part in our youth open mic, and paint a self portrait as part of our upcoming project with mocha | museum of children's art.

    deshret is a labor of love: a three-fold literary project whose beginnings Brooke nurtured and cultivated in the writing sanctuary of Chapter 510. Her time at Chapter 510 is coming to a close and we are so excited to share her project.

    Join us this coming First Friday as we say goodbye to Goddessflow Presents and welcome deshret. You’ll also have a chance to pre-order a copy of the deshret: A Personal Narrative Workbook and/or contribute to its production (designed by Justin Carder)

    For kids and youth, we’re hosting a youth open mic and self-potrait-making-project in partnership with Museum of Children’s Art for NEA’s 2016 Big Read.

    And as always, there will be refreshments, and Two Mamacitas Pop-Up Kitchen will be popping up in the house.

    Looking forward to celebrating love, self, and expression with you!


    A retrospective since 2013

    2015 Summer Maker Workshop

    Make-Believing a Youth Writing Center for the Oakland Community


    Eight Oakland youth and three teaching artists brought their minds and hearts together to make-believe a new creative writing space for the Oakland community. Led by Workshop Coordinator Rei Jackler and Writer-in-Residence Margaret Miller, the workshop spanned one week and guided the youth in writing and design activities. The youth examined what makes Oakland Oakland and created prototypes to help plan the Chapter 510 writing space. Their results … incredible.



    Their writing and photos were compiled overnight into a zine, titled Strictly Oakland: How Many Oakland Youth Does it Take To Make a Writing Center.



    2015 Acorn Elementary Poetry

    Reading & Viewing

    Under the instruction of teaching artist Perla Yasmeen Meléndez, Acorn Elementary second graders practiced their bookmaking skills and completed an amazing creative writing project. Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Book of Questions, the children posed their own unanswerable questions. From “Where’s the Taco Truck?” to “Why does my mom let me go to parties?”, the collection of questions peeks into the growing critical minds of the young writers.


    The work focuses, too, on the class’s discussion of migration and its role within a family. The students recorded their family’s personal migration histories alongside the migration tales of some of their favorite animals.

    The students showed their work next door to the Acorn campus at the 81st Avenue Branch of the Oakland Public Library. The exhibit allowed participants to walk through a maze of questions, stories and beautiful artwork.



    What If an Artist Ruled the World

    Si Un Artista Dirigiera El Mundo


    Buy yours today!

    A Spanish/English Anthology by some of Oakland’s

    Youngest and most Amazing Writers

    We can't help but agree with Chinaka Hodge 
    in the What if An Artist Ruled the World forward that "the poets are like the inhabitants of Oakland. They’re fearless, hilarious, subtle, probing, surprising and deft. They’re amazing. I can’t wait until they rule the world." Chapter 510 poets take on the sounds of Harlem Renaissance jazz, the feeling of bread dough between your fingers and, of course, the big question –

    What if an artist really ruled the world?

    Whispers From The Edge

    of The Solar System

    Out of this World Poetry by Oakland Youth



    Chapter 510 published a far out pop-up book of poems written and illustrated by 2nd and 3rd graders at NOCCS with Pickypockets Press book maven Anna Kingsley. In it, stars explode from stanzas, rockets fly across sonnets and space worms pop out of unknown worlds. As Jessica, Marci and Lila say in the title poem, The moon dust is saying in a spooky voice I see you… The cold wind gods of the planets / dance in a circle singing songs.


    It’s quite a trip!



    Pizza Poetry Project

    Nourishing the stomachs and souls 

    of the Oakland community with Poetry...and Pizza!

    In celebration of National Poetry Month, Chapter 510 teamed up with sister organization Big Class to publish youth poems from NOLA on some of the best boxes of pizza in the East Bay, including Emilia’s, Slicer and Lanesplitter on Temescal. We don’t know if we’d eat “a wild pizza dough [with] Elephants stuck on top of it,” but we certainly want to read about it!

    MetWest High School Mentorship

    Caring Volunteers, Personalized Academic Support

    It began in fall 2014, when Chapter 510 volunteers mentored twenty ninth grade students at Oakland’s MetWest High School. Every semester since then, we’ve added new classes to our roster, and today we are helping six classes of students write essays, finish their homework, and apply to college. 

    No One is the Boss of Yeast

    Chewy, Gooey, Sticky, Doughy Poetry!


    If you’ve ever made bread, you know yeast is not about to be bossed around. NOCCS K/1 students baked bread and figured this universal truth out, too! On top of that, they wrote a book of poems about it!



    Ten Stories - One Dream

    Tales of the Oakland Immigrant Experience

    A young writer and MetWest student, Rosario G Sanchez Cervantes, published her first book with Chapter 510! Ten Oakland residents share their stories of immigrating to the United States. “Every story is important to me,” Rosario shares. Chapter 510 is so proud to have young writers like Rosario touch on these exceptionally relevant issues! 

    Hanging Out With Jelly Roll Morton

    A Jazzy Set of Poems Vibrating with Harlem Blues

    Who isn’t inspired by the Harlem Renaissance? This handmade, recycled LP cover collection of poems by 2nd grade students at NOCCS in North Oakland celebrates the sights and sounds of the Harlem Renaissance jazz scene.

    Scratch 510 - DJ Camp

    Cutting a Record with Chapter 510

    Scratch 510 was a hands-on intensive DJ summer camp focused on turntablism, composing, beats, scratching, and the history of DJing.  Led by local DJ legends Max Kane and Ladyfingaz, youth listened, scratched, sang, recorded and it came out dope

    510 Journal

    Celebrating the Work of Oakland’s

    Most Powerful Young Writers through Public Poetry


    510 Journal is a series of posters displayed in public places throughout Oakland, including schools, businesses and transit. The first issue of 510 Journal answers the question: What does a poet look like? In partnership with the Oakland Public Library, the project features the work of the 2012 and 2013 Oakland Youth Poet Laureates Sophie Elkin, Stephanie Yun, Obasi Davis, Francesca Paris and Olivia Hoffman. If you haven’t seen them yet, 510 Journal can still be found online and at Rock Paper Scissors CollectiveRock Paper Scissors Collective.


  • Shannon Carey, 9th Grade Advisor at MetWest High School






    So much is happening. Stay informed!

  • Space Rental Information

    Rent our 1,800 sq. ft. writing center at 2301 Telegraph in Oakland for your next reading, party, conference, class, or any old special occasion!

    Rental Rates

    Space rental rates range from $50/hr-$300/hr depending on the event type and day/time. We give a generous discount to nonprofits and partners, especially if we can open the Dept. of Make Believe during your event.

    Please contact us with the following to get a rental quote and to check availability.
    *Organization/Company/Your name if it's a private party
    *Preferred dates/times
    *Type of event
    *Number of guests expected
    *Food/Alcohol information


    Janet Heller


    Janet Heller is an Oakland poet, teaching artist and community arts leader. She
    founded the San Francisco WritersCorps and during her tenure built an award-winning, highly respected literary arts program. She has published poetry (Back to Front: Red Window Press) and essays, but is currently working on a novel about an Oakland family with roots in Cuba. She graduated from Tulane University (BA in English) and Florida State University (MFA in Creative Writing). She has been teaching creative writing for 20 years, most recently at North Oakland Community Charter School. Contact janet@chapter510.org

    Tavia Stewart


    Tavia Stewart has nearly 15 years of experience running literary and community nonprofits. Most recently, she left her post at National Novel Writing Month where she spent nine years building the organization, the final three as Deputy Director/COO. 


    Previously Tavia interned, volunteered, and worked for 826 Valencia, McSweeney's Publishing, ZYZZYVA, and Watchword Press. She has also helped with development for Oakland First Fridays and the Oakland Book Festival, is founder and Executive Director of Invisible City Audio Tours, and a co-author of Ready, Set, Novel (Chronicle Books). 


    Oh, and she is also the lucky mom of one highly energetic (and dramatic) four-year-old humanoid.

    Margaret Ann Miller

    Volunteer Coordinator/Teaching Artist

    Margaret Ann Miller is a writer, teacher, activist, and scholar. While completing her MFA in fiction from Mills College, Margaret taught creative writing and introductory composition courses. After graduating, she worked abroad, in Samoa, teaching 6th grade English. Her love for empowering students through the written word then spread to her volunteer work at MetWest High School where she currently coordinates volunteer training.

    Marya Brennan

    Communications Manager

    Marya Brennan taught 5th grade English at KIPP Bayview Academy in San Francisco for three years before leaving her job to travel, write terrible novels, learn Spanish, and adventure through Europe as part of a two-person street circus. She resettled in Oakland and just finished two years of teaching 7th grade humanities at Greenleaf TK-8 in East Oakland. She’s excited to spend her time taking creative writing and film classes at CCSF, working with Chapter 510, and running through the streets of North Oakland with her little brown dog, Buster.

    Mariah Rankine-Landers

    Educational Advisor

    Mariah Rankine-Landers is a former Kindergarten and First Grade Teacher of 10 years. Mariah holds a BA in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz and a MA in Equity and Social Justice in Education from SFSU. She now works for Alameda County Office of Ed as an Integrated Learning Specialist in supporting the goals of Arts Education. In addition, Mariah does educational consulting with organizations in the Bay Area. She is a resident and adoring fan of Oakland and its communities.

    Kayla Keith

    Youth Intern

    Kayla Keith is a sophomore at MetWest High School in downtown Oakland. A passionate activist and public speaker, Kayla is an inspired communicator and ally on behalf of her community. She is currently interviewing 10 Oakland artists, leaders, and politicians to learn and write about their commitment to youth. Her lead question:

    How has Oakland influenced you?



    Anjali Emsellem

    Youth Intern

    Anjali Emsellem is a sophomore at Berkeley High School. She is the leader of the Spoken Word club, contributes photography for the newspaper, and is an active member of the feminist unions. Although Anjali has acted, performed, and danced throughout the bay area, she has had passion for creative writing since she could write the alphabet.

    Ella Zalon

    Youth Intern

    Ella Zalon is a sophomore at Oakland School for the Arts in the Literary Arts department. She is passionate about the bay area, writing, theatre, and arts advocacy in general. She is a Teen Core Council member at the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre and an ensemble member at Gritty City Rep. In 2015 Ella was awarded a Silver Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for poetry. 

    Robert "Tres" Trujillo

    Featured Artist

    Our web site and materials feature the work of local artist, father, and storyteller, Robert "Tres" Trujillo. Robert's use of illustration, storytelling, and public art reflect the artist's cultural background, dreams, and political/personal beliefs. 

    Perla Yasmeen Meléndez 

    Teaching Artist

    Perla Yasmeen Meléndez is a writer, artist, teacher, and chef. She holds a BA and MFA in Book Art & Creative Writing from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Mills College, as well as a Culinary Arts Degree from Costa Rica's Escuela Gourmet ARCAM. Meléndez has extensive experience teaching art, cooking, and creative writing to youth and adults. She has worked as a teaching artist at Alameda County's Integrated Learning Summer Institute, Edna Brewer Middle School, and ACORN Elementary School. She currently teaches at Head Royce's ASP Program as well as in their Heads Up Program. She is the founder of Oakland's Two Mamacitas Pop-Up Kitchen, a small scale catering business serving Latin American Cuisine. 

    Erica Lorraine Webb

    Program Advisor / Teaching Artist

    Erica Lorraine Webb's young adult novel, Uses for Boys (St. Martin's Press), was named a Best First Book for Youth by the American Library Association's Booklist and  a 2014 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. A longtime volunteer at 826 Valencia, Erica is an outspoken advocate for literary arts programming for youth. Erica has an MA in creative writing from the University of California, Davis and a BA in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University and was a 2012 Artist in Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts. 


    Foundations, sponsors, donors, volunteers and Make Believers like you! 


    $75,000 or more


    Abundance Foundation

    Frances Hellman and Warren Breslau




    $15,000 or more

    Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman


    $5,100 or more


    Anonymous Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation, Salesforce, Shawna Wolverton



    $1,000 or more


    Hog's Apothecary, Jason Ediger, Jodi Nishimura, Lauran and Jeffrey, Miguel Young, Scholastic Alliance for Young Artists & Writers



    $510 or more


    Jean Chu, Ken Kazama, Kristen McClusky, Linda, Nat and Cecile Missildine,Temescal Brewing Company, Nia Foundation, Stacy Gordon, and Sue Levin




    $255 or more


    Aimee Eng, Green Copy, Greg Harris,

    Peter Smith, Shannon Carey, and Tinguru


    $151 or more


    Adriana N. Tartana, Deb Tannenbaum, Heather Isaacs Royce, Karen Harber, Kayla Kirsch, Lorna Garano, and Susan Mernit



    $51 or more


    Adriana Tartanta, Alan Heller, Alison Gold, Amanda Berger, Amanda Feinstein, Amy Guiang, Ann Wettrich, Anne Marquardt, Avery Trufelman, Beth Salmon, Bluebeetle, Cassie Perham, Cedric Brown, Chela Blitt, Chris Angotti, Elisa Baier, Emily Doscow, Emily Heller, Erica Lorraine Webb, Evan Anderson, Farley's East, Frank Marquardt, Ignitiant, Jeff Campbell, Jeff Pearlstein, Jen Kenny Baum, Jeni Paltiel, Jenn Guitart, Jennifer Moline, Joe Devries, Jon Eldan, Jordan Rose, K. L. Rice, Kara Murphy, Karen Agresti, Karen Lynch, Karissa Yee Findley, Kate Levinson, Katie E. O’Neill, Kevin Boyd, Kim Havenson, Kristen McClusky, Laurel Book Store, Lauren Bundy, Laurie Loftus, Laurie Radke, Lorna Garano, Marnie Webb, Melissa Jenkins, Michael Wessels, Mydianame, Nina Lindsay, Pat Sussman, Penny Ellis, Peter Gruber, Rachael Herron, Regan Mcmahon, Rose Haynes, Shannon Carey, Shelby Ashbaugh

    Susan Mernit, Sylvie Kim, Terry Wit

    Tim Kim, Timothy Don, Tom Breeve, Valerie Chow Bush + 3 Anonymous Donors


    $10 or more


    Adrian McGilly, Betty Cohen, Brad Leibin, Caitlyn O'Connell, Candace Cunard, Edan Lepucki, Hillary Andujar, Jason Burcholtz, Judith Tannenbaum, Karpekarp, Kate Fritz, Kimberly M. Lowe, Kira Del Mar, Lauren Idoko, Laurie Nemzor, Lily Jones, Patrick Hoge, Penny Ellis, R. K. Ropes, Robert, Samantha Lencioni, Sara Levine, Sarah Pearlman, Shana Barchas, Shelby Gibbs, Sybil Gordon, Vicky Ann Smith, and Zachary Abell

    Chapter 510 Volunteers

    Who have given 10 or more hours to support our programs


    Adriana Taranta, Alec Dufurrena, Alex Uhlig, Ali Fenlon, Alicia Herrick, Amelia Zimmerman, Anjali Emsellem, Anna Kingsley, Astrid Mejia, Beauty’s Bagels, Beth Detwiler, Brian Vandeputte, Caitlyn O’Connell, Carrie Leilam Love, Coral Trevino-Araoz, Dawn Hawk, Don Sorsa, Ella Zalon, Ellen Evans, Emily Meredith, Erica Anderson, Erica Webb, Faith Hale, Freddy Gutierrez, Hannah Rubin, Hilary Flood, Jamie Nemzer, Janet Heller, Jean Chu, Jess Geiner, Jonah Taranta-Slack, Julia Cohen, Julia Lachman, Julie Plasencia, Kathleen Miller, Kayla Keith, Keli Benko, Kelly Lynch, Keri Schroeder, Lauren Bundy, Laurie Loftus, Linda Puffer, Lynn Schwartz, Madison Brewer, Manhattan Murphy, Margaret Miller, Mariah Landers, Marya Brennan, Matthew Gaertner, Max Gibson, Mayumi Wagstaff-Blaise, Meagan Sullivan, Megan Susman, Michaela Wang, Nan Eastep, Nicolas Salazar, Perla Yasmeen Meléndez, Rebecca Woolston, Rei Jackler, Sadie McClendon, Scott Raynor, Shelby Ashbaugh, Shelby Gibbs, Shelby Holguin, Steve Frances, Tavia Stewart-Streit, Terri Keith


  • Writer in Residence Summer/Fall

    at the Dept. of Make Believe

    Introducing Brooke Doaks

    Writer in Residence at the Dept. of Make Believe

    To launch our Writer in Residence program, we invited poet, teaching artist, and activist Brook Doaks to take up space in our magical bureaucracy this summer and fall.

    She is currently working on her second book and community project, Deshret. Brooke encourages community members to pop round our store (2301 Telegraph) on Saturdays from 11am to 5pm and participate in her articulation exercises centered around issues of identity, race, origins, self, awakening, and nothingness.

    Brooke will house her community engagement series Goddessflow Presents at Chapter 510 for the summer and fall and will be curating all three of our upcoming First Friday open houses.

    Brooke Doaks is a poet, artist, and visionary. She is the founder and creative director of Goddessflow Presents, an engagement series highlighting the black feminine divine. She earned her BA from Columbia College. Her forthcoming collection of poetry, A Grey Soul, will be published 2016. She's produced MTV2 featured music video "World Famous" by Brandun Deshay as well as a PSA for Greenpeace and short films. Brooke’s dedication to social justice movements has lead her to organize for organizations such as Greenpeace, the DNC, Action Now and SEIU. She worked as a community organizer during the Chicago Teacher's Union strike where she organized one of the first Freedom Schools in the country. Brooke was one of the featured curators of "The Hundy," an Oakland poetry festival and a reader at last year's Beast Crawl. When she's not hiding in nature, you can find Brooke at Chapter 510 mentoring youth. You can listed to her poetics on her soundcloud here.



    Come visit it us at our new space starting September 1.
    2301 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612


    Chapter 510