Greetings my loves!
I’d like to enlist your help in promoting young writers.
As you all know, I started wading into the world of writing as a child and have been swimming with words ever since. I believe in the power of creating, of linking disparate concepts together, of healing through words, through developing, conjuring, and discovery. I believe in the power of writing to transform and help us grow into empathic, compassionate human beings.
Most of you also know that Rob and I run a not-for-profit writing program called Writopia Lab in the suburbs of New York City in Westchester and Fairfield Counties. Our mission in life is aligned with the mission of Writopia Lab: to foster joy, literacy and critical thinking in ALL young people from all walks of life. Contrary to the stereotype of the suburbs, this area includes small cities hit with urban blight and pockets of rural poverty.
Just over five years ago, I was introduced to innovator and thought-leader, Writopia Lab founder Rebecca Wallace-Segall by Susan Cain (NYTimes best selling author of Quiet). Not only had I met another kindred spirit, but I found the program I had always wanted to be part of, a program to give structure and context to my passion for writing and for teaching.
Three years ago we became the affiliate for the scholastic Writing Awards in nine counties north of New York City. This means that we encourage and promote teen writing by both providing a ceremony and by adjudicating the awards regionally. It is the nation’s longest-running, largest, most prestigious recognition program for creative teenagers. Over the past 92 years The Awards have given teens involved in the arts a level of recognition and reward typically reserved only for athletics.
I didn’t know about the Scholastic Writing Awards when I was a teen, nor did I have access to a program like Writopia Lab. How I would have thrived! But I remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Fitzhugh, who believed in me. I channel my grandmother, Madeleine L’Engle, a wonderful writer, teacher, thinker, who alway claimed that I was an artist, “like her”. And I think of my mother and father, who passionately championed that I could be anything I wanted if I followed my own path.
Well this is my path folks! So I invite you to help me celebrate my fifth anniversary of working with Writopia Lab by donating $5 or more to this Indiegogo campaign to fund three scholarships to graduating seniors who are regionally recognized by the Scholastic Awards for an essay/memoir piece, a fiction piece, and a poetry piece.
As my young colleague Gaby Boland says: “To me, funding these scholarships isn’t even about the money. It’s about recognizing the light inside a young writer. About saying, you have a voice and we hear it. You have a skill, a gift, and we want you to go forth and use it.”
And if you are so inclined as the fiscal year comes to a close, Writopia Lab itself is a wonderful place to support. Writopia Lab is a 501(c)3 non-profit that operates with limited resources, relying heavily on support from the community to sustain our programs--over 95% of our funding comes from the community in the form of these workshop and membership fees. Go to www.writopialab.org/donate to find out more.