Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

My Birthday Wish - Help Me Have Deeper Impact

I’m Turning 50’
Happy Summer Everyone! 

Guess what? I'm not 18 anymore! I am turning FIFTY years old on June 20th and I couldn’t be more excited! When I read Carl Jung in grad school in my mid-20’s, 50 seemed so far away, but the way he described it made me look forward to it -- freedom from self. The 20’s were all about finding out what I was made of, the 30’s about starting and raising a family, the 40’s about finding meaning through work and making a difference in the community, and the 50’s extending that even farther, and really embracing life. My path has followed the Jungian trajectory perfectly! 

My Family Journey with Writopia
I had my three beautiful children in my 30’s and helped take care of my grandmother. I published my first novel in my early 40’s, and started working at Writopia Lab in NYC, a baby non-profit created by Rebecca Wallace-Segall dedicated to fostering joy, literacy, and critical thinking through creative writing to all kids and teens - a program that had a sliding scale and never turned anyone away based on their ability to pay.  The summer I turned 42, my family decided to take a leap of faith and move to Northern Westchester, and we wanted to bring Writopia Lab with us. My husband and I slowly began building the region now known as New York Metro North. All the while we watched Rebecca and her team in NYC grow exponentially, not only in the city, but becoming a Writopia Nation and opening labs in DC, Chicago, LA, and (now) San Francisco. Part of the city’s growth was paying attention to our mission of accessibility, that all children deserve and have the right to write. They have programs in treatment centers, in low performing schools, and Homes 4 Homeless. It’s been so inspiring to watch and be a part of.

We have grown out in Westchester too, and now have our own labs in Bedford Hills and Hartsdale, and with smaller hubs in Stamford, Ct. and in Rockland County (Nanuet). I have one of my first Writopians, Kaley, who started at the end of fifth grade in a small workshop at the Katonah Library, graduating from high school and attending Columbia University in the fall. How amazing and wonderful is it that I get to be part of not only her journey but many other kids as well.  Writopia is a safe, loving environment where kids can find their authentic voices and learn how to process their thinking through writing. They fall in love with the art of communication.

And now is the time to grow in our outreach efforts, the way the city has. We have a huge immigrant population in Westchester, and haven’t been able to reach this important part of our community. There is a wonderful program called Neighbors Link whose mission is to strengthen the whole community by actively enhancing the healthy integration of immigrants.

In honor of my birthday, I am asking you to help me bring Writopia Lab to Neighbors Link and to our greater outreach efforts. There are two programs where Writopia could have deep impact  - Summer Links - which serves kindergartners through fifth grade - and Pipeline, a school-year program that focuses on teens who are at risk for graduating from high school. We would also love to be able to provide a full scholarship to one of our Westchester kids to our sleepaway camp, Wricampia at the end of August this summer.

This is why I am hoping to raise a minimum of $5000 for Writopia Lab for my 50th birthday. We will be “partying” all month of June! Check out the link to my donation page on the Writopia Website! Not everyone is in the position to donate, but what always helps is word-of-mouth - spreading the news of Writopia Lab!


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