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    UMass hosts writing program gala

    Front row (from left): Lorraine Sanchez, Julia Texeira, Kevin Euceda, and Stevelyn Desire. Back row (from left): Richard Blanco, Erin O’Brien, Kelsey Buckley, and Christine Meade.
    Anne Haggerty
    Front row (from left): Lorraine Sanchez, Julia Texeira, Kevin Euceda, and Stevelyn Desire. Back row (from left): Richard Blanco, Erin O’Brien, Kelsey Buckley, and Christine Meade.

    The Roxbury nonprofit 826 Boston, which helps kids with their writing skills, had its “Night of 1,000 Stories” gala at the University of Massachusetts Boston Ballroom on Wednesday night. The evening, which supported 826’s free programs for local youngsters, included a literary-themed auction (one prize was custom-made bookshelves), as well as a talk and poetry reading by Richard Blanco, best known as the poet at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Blanco shared the stage with participants from 826’s program and said of the organization, “Thank goodness that something like this exists.” Blanco’s audience included Grub Street writing center’s Eve Bridburg, Wellesley Books owner Gillian Kohli, Philanthropy Connection cofounder Marla Felcher, MassArt curator Lisa Tung, and Chris Gallagher, Northeastern University’s director of writing programs, who picked up 826’s inaugural “Heroic Huskie” award for community service. (Northeastern has sent hundreds of students to tutor at 826’s after-school program.)

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    Mark Shanahan can be reached at shanahan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarkAShanahan. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MeredithGoldste.