Giving Week 2019: Support High School Students and Teachers

October 09, 2019

10/29/2019 UPDATE: Wow! On behalf of the Friends of the Dickens Project, we can’t even begin to express our gratitude to our supporters. We would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to the 71 people who donated to our High School and Teacher Scholarship fund. Together, we raised $14,240 to support Victorian literature in the classroom in L.A. and to expand the program to new communities. Thank you for your support, involvement, and enthusiasm!


Since 2015, the Dickens Project has partnered with the Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI) in Los Angeles to bring students and teachers together for a week of intensive study at the Dickens Universe conference. NAI is a rigorous, seven-year pre-college enrichment program designed to prepare underserved, first-generation students for admission to a college or university.

The Friends of the Dickens Project provide ongoing and varied support to the students throughout the academic year. Each autumn, the seniors in NAI's AP English classes receive copies of the Dickens Universe novel. Members of the extended Universe community record short video synopses of chapters to expose the students to a variety of perspectives on the story. Additionally, the Friends fund paid internships for NAI student alumni to serve as production assistants for their annual performance. Friends provide instructional support, feedback on essays written about the novel, as well as attend productions and events in Los Angeles.

The Dickens Universe, now in its 40th year, not only attracts faculty and graduate students from schools in its international consortium but also hosts a Road Scholar program and a UCSC summer session course for credit. More than 250 people make up the diverse audience for a week of lectures, seminars, films, and other activities. For the first-generation students who attend the Dickens Universe conference, it's a unique opportunity to taste the college experience at UCSC alongside international faculty, graduate students, and Victorian literature aficionados.

"One of the things I appreciate most at the Dickens Universe is its mix of younger and older participants—high schoolers, teachers, Road Scholars, and more. With their excitement and fresh ideas about Dickens, NAI students are an important part of that mix," notes Dickens Project Director John O. Jordan.

Your gift will provide critical year-round support to these students and teachers and will allow us to expand this unique program to more students at high schools in other communities.




Save the Date!

Friends Giving Week starts at 12:00 AM on Thursday, October 24. For five days the Dickens Project will raise funds for scholarships, books, and paid internships to support high school students from underserved communities and their teachers. Your support will make a difference! 

» Add the event to your calendar (.ics file)

» Donate to the High School and Teacher Scholarship fund