LatinaLista — It’s one thing to put words to paper or computer screen but quite another to share those words through publication or public reading.
When that “sharing” step is achieved, the words don’t just ring out with greater authority, the writers themselves are empowered and emboldened to no longer remain silent and finally understand just how much “words have power.”
It’s that realization Keren Taylor wanted at-risk girls to experience when they participate in the non-profit she founded in 2001 dubbed WriteGirl.
Combining mentorship from professional female writers with workshops that teach at-risk girls writing techniques and special insights, girls explore different genres of writing with the program culminating in the publication of an anthology featuring the words of each girl.
Several anthologies have garnered multiple book awards.
Yet, the girls just don’t learn about the craft of writing or even how to put their thoughts to print. They also learn about healthy lifestyle behaviors and making the right choices, as well as, seriously considering college to pursue their new-found love of writing either through journalism, public relations, screenwriting, songwriting, corporate communications, publishing, website content producing, editing or creative writing.
It’s working. WriteGirl has a 100 percent success rate in getting all their girls to graduate from high school and enroll in college.
Because of the awesome success of WriteGirl, the non-profit was named “California Nonprofit of the Year.”
However, as successful as it is, WriteGirl’s founder, Keren Taylor confesses there is a formidable challenge facing the nonprofit — money. Because the organization produces over 20 major events during the year and publishes an annual 200-page anthology, the organization needs donations to accomplish those objectives and pay for the staff that helps get it done.
Right now, WriteGirl is only in the Los Angeles, California area but Taylor has plans to expand the program someday into other cities.
It’s amazing to see a girl enter WriteGirl as shy and withdrawn, or perhaps outgoing but a bit awkward, and see her in only a few months make an amazing transformation into a self-assured, well-spoken young woman. I have an email folder where I keep letters from mentees – unsolicited letters where they spontaneously share things they’ve learned or gained from WriteGirl. They’re like an espresso shot for me – I check them out when I need a lift.
– Keren Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of WriteGirl