I’ve posted about how I volunteer once a month or so with Reading to Kids here in Los Angeles where we read picture books to elementary school students and craft with them. So while it’s not about my picture book life per se, I wanted to spread the word now about another wonderful literacy organization I’ve been volunteering with this year: WriteGirl.
“WriteGirl is a creative writing and mentoring organization that promotes creativity, critical thinking and leadership skills to empower teen girls.”
It has many components, but the main ones I’ve been involved with are weekly mentoring and monthly writing workshops. It’s been pretty amazing to work with a teen girl on a regular basis, one who blows my mind with her insight and natural talent. And the workshops are a chance to see the wide array of girls in the program, their varied voices and spirits. It’s a privilege.
Women are paired with girls as writing mentors. We meet once a week or so with our mentees to talk and write and share our writing. To encourage. To explore. To explain. To expand.
Pretty cool, right?
Plus, there are a dozen workshops through the school year on Saturdays. Workshops on journalism, memoir, songwriting(!), fiction, poetry, comedy, you name it. And women come and talk to the girls and help lead the writing activity-filled days. Special guests are women in the news business whose names you might recognize. Successful songwriters for pop stars. A wonderful champion of poetry in L.A.
But the real draw is that the girls are guided through a day of writing. Their words. Their stories. And at the close of every workshop, some of them read snippets aloud to the whole group. It’s moving and incredible to see them speak.
“Never underestimate the power of a girl and her pen.”
Every WriteGirl who graduates high school goes to college. Michelle Obama honored the organization with National Arts and Humanities Youth Program award. One of the girls is the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. WriteGirl publishes anthologies of the girls’ work so they get a taste of publication. There’s a program that reaches out to girls in schools and juvenile detention centers. But most importantly, there are women helping girls and girls being together and girls writing. That’s WriteGirl.
Keren Taylor, Founder and Executive Director is standing in the middle there. She’s also been featured as a CNN Hero!
If you’re in L.A., Skylight Books is holding a WriteGirl reading this Saturday, March 21st!
Is there anything like WriteGirl where you live?