Getting It WRITE
How One Female-Forward
Organization is Setting Up
Aspiring Scribes for Success
When New York City-based singer-songwriter Keren Taylor found herself the unceremonious recipient of a lay-off from her dot.com day job in 2001, the proverbial “Well, what do I do now?” quickly took residence in her head. Finding herself at a soul searching crossroads of sorts, Taylor felt compelled to pursue her life purpose of helping others – specifically a unique, non-profit organization committed to helping teen- aged girls develop critical thinking and leadership skills, while promoting creativity and boosting confidence for real life success. WriteGirl is a Los Angeles based non-profit that matches professional female writers of all genres with girls for a transformative, one-on-one 9 month mentoring program, while also hosting monthly workshops with the girls and women for a writing intensive where their words are sung by professional singers – all set to live music. Both scary and exhilarating, they get to “hear” their words come to life in a room full of 140 females!
In a city with a 50% high school dropout rate, WriteGirl has the distinct accolade of having 100% of their girls graduating high school AND going onto college. “Since 2001, we have made it a priority to get 100% of our high school seniors into college. Many of our girls are the first in their families to attend college, and we’ve seen that for some girls, they had never even considered college to be an option. We now have WriteGirl alumnae who are working as doctors, lawyers, environmentalists, teachers, writers, and more. It’s thrilling to see the difference they are making in their communities and in the world!” says Taylor. With an intentional purpose to empower young women by promoting creativity and self-expression, WriteGirl is a first-of-its-kind writing and mentor organization going into its 19th year, including a decades-long 100% success rate of their WriteGirl girls attending college, most enjoying full or partial scholarships.
Not only are there on-going, 9-month mentorships between girls and working woman writers, WriteGirl also produces enlightening panel discussions, empowerment events, leadership workshops, and special events to help inspire ingenuity and imagination, while instilling confidence, poise, and the tools for life-long success. With more than 200 volunteer professional writer women mentoring more than 500 girls annually through one-on-one mentoring, as well as monthly creative writing workshops, girls are taught techniques, different writing styles, and hot-button trends/topics for successful writing across all genres. Mentoring sessions and workshops explore
poetry, fiction, non-fiction, creative non fiction, songwriting, journalism, screenwriting, critical writing, playwriting, journaling, editing, and more.
In Los Angeles, the guidance counselor to student ratio is a heartbreaking 810:1 – one of the worst in the nation. As a result, many of the teen girls are not getting the crucial support they need during this often confusing and challenging time in their lives, while many face hardships like abuse, neglect, depression, isolation, bullying, etc. A supportive, compassionate role model can make all the difference in a young woman’s life, giving them the confidence and self empowerment to manifest a destiny of success, fulfillment, and positivity.
In Your Own Words
If you’re a GoGirl who is inspired by this fun, female-forward organization and would like to support this growing group of other Go-Girls, you can purchase their many published, award winning anthologies that showcase the unabashed, arguably imaginative works of both the talented teens and their magnanimous mentors. Through an eclectic curation of personal essays, memoirs, storytelling, scenes, lyrics, and inventive writing exercises, you’ll transport to a world of daring, indelible voices where you can connect, commiserate, and celebrate. And, maybe it will be just the motivation you need to start on that novel you’ve been dying to write! If you’re a professional writer and would like to learn more about being a life-changing mentor and teacher to an impressionable teen, be sure to visit the WriteGirl website at www.writegirl.org.
“At WriteGirl, I found long-lasting friends, an inspiring mentor, and most importantly, my creative voice and the confidence to let it out and allow it to be an essential part of me.”
– Lovely, WriteGirl Alum
After just 6 months following its December 2001 launch, WriteGirl published the first of what would be a long list of published anthologies, entitled Threads, featuring excerpts of the girls’ work and innovative, pen provoking writing prompts for readers. From accounts of first love bliss (and blues) to stories of identity and struggle to pieces eloquently illustrating dreams and international adventure to reflections of relationships, family, and friendships, the resonant voices of the girls’ works were celebrated at a standing-room only, public reading at Hollywood’s famous Knitting Factory to kick off the book’s highly-anticipated release. O Friday, November 22nd, 2013, WriteGirl had the humble honor of receiving the coveted National Arts
and Humanities Youth Program Award – the highest national honor awarded to these types of programs – at the White House by then First Lady Michelle Obama. To date, WriteGirl Books have collectively earned 91 national and international book awards and they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Many of the monthly writing workshops and special events take place at creative art houses and other artistically-rich locales all throughout the greater Los Angeles area, including MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), The Grammy Museum, and the Los Angeles Times HQ in culturally-vast, thriving Downtown Los Angeles. A project of non-profit Community Partners, WriteGirl’s richly-diverse leadership boasts 20 volunteer staff members and an advisory board of community leaders, educators, and business executives.