I love to write, and I love anything that empowers women and girls. So, imagine my happy surprise when I discovered WriteGirl, a Los Angeles organization that pairs professional female writers with teenage girls in underserved high schools as mentors. Mentors then have weekly one-on-one meetings with their mentees, as well as participate in monthly group events, all geared toward helping girls find power through the written word.
What I love about WriteGirl is that it’s not just about helping girls through school (though there’s plenty of that – in its 13-year history, 100% of WriteGirl participants have gone on to college), nor is it even about helping them with writing (though there’s plenty of that, too – WriteGirl is purely writing-based, with all of its activities focused on or around writing). It’s about giving girls power by giving them a powerful way in which to express themselves. Some girls who participate in the program want to be writers, and it’s a mentor’s job to guide them toward that goal. Others have never written a word outside of school, and don’t exactly think of writing as fun. It then becomes a mentor’s job to make it fun, and show them what an amazing, powerful tool writing is to be used however the girl likes.
It was an assignment too awesome to resist and so this month I became a WriteGirl mentor! I’ve only just started and so I still haven’t been paired with a girl. But I have nine months of sharing the magic of writing with a girl ahead of me and I’m very much looking forward to it!
Here’s why you should consider joining up with WriteGirl:
1) THE WARM FUZZIES – Experience the joy of helping a girl discover that what she has to say matters; that writing is a powerful skill at which she can get better. And who knows? You might make a new friend in the process!
2) SKILLS LEARNED HERE CAN APPLY ELSEWHERE – WriteGirl is a mostly volunteer-run organization. Volunteers help with all aspects of the year’s programming allowing them to acquire skills they might not get to explore in their regular lives. Want to learn more about managing a team, marketing, education/tutoring, or event planning? Helping out at WriteGirl will allow you to gain all sorts of experience you might be able to apply to other endeavors.
3) NETWORK WITH OTHER PROFESSIONAL FEMALE WRITERS – You’ll get to meet your fellow mentors who are professional writers in not just film and TV, but in literary/comics publishing as well as other careers of which writing is a big part. Broaden your social and professional circle by volunteering with other women who are into the same stuff you are!
And if you can’t be a mentor, don’t worry! There are plenty of other ways you can help. WriteGirl needs other volunteers – everything from office help, to help with their events throughout the year! If you’re a behind-the-scenes person, contact them to find out what other help you can offer. You can also attend WriteGirl’s public events! WriteGirl gives its girls several opportunities throughout the year to read their work aloud to the public. Check out their event calendar and come out to support the young writers! And of course, they can always use donations to support their work. Visit their Support page to find out one of the many ways in which you can donate, buy one of their wonderful anthologies, or buy a Kind Bar at Fresco Community Market this month!
And never underestimate the power of a girl and her pen!