Religion & Beliefs

Social Justice Tuesday: Girls Write Now

According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), low literacy ability leads to low grades and low achievement levels—which can and usually does then ultimately lead to a high drop-out rate. In the same report, it is noted … Read More

By / January 16, 2008

According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), low literacy ability leads to low grades and low achievement levels—which can and usually does then ultimately lead to a high drop-out rate. In the same report, it is noted that of high school seniors, way less than half read at a level required to comprehend a school textbook. The focus of curriculum being on standard testing in the US at the moment allows students little time to explore artistic and literary pursuits, and so writing programs are just not available to students. In a 2000 SCANS Report, research showed students with access to music, theater and creative writing all performed better than students without.

So, recently, when I learned about a truly wonderful organization that is doing some really incredible work in this area, I knew I'd found an organization I wanted to support. Meet Girls Write Now, an organization that "provides a safe and supportive environment where girls can expand their natural writing talents, develop independent creative voices, and build confidence in making healthy choices in school, career and life." Sounds great, right? Wait, wait, it gets even better!

Girls Write Now "provides at-risk New York City high school girls with emerging writing talent an opportunity to be custom-matched with a professional woman writer who serves as her personal mentor and writing coach, meeting with her weekly for the duration of an entire school year, and for up to four years. GWN also enrolls each student in a vibrant writing community — all mentees and mentors gather monthly for genre-based group writing workshops conducted at our offices within Teachers & Writers Collaborative in midtown Manhattan. The year is punctuated by three annual readings, college and career prep seminars, field trips to cultural events, and endless opportunities for scholarships and publication. The magic of the program is reflected in a solid nine-year track record, a 75-percent member retention rate, a 100-percent college acceptance rate, an annual anthology of original writing, and the seven-genre portfolios each student emerges equipped with each season. Founded in 1998, GWN was the first organization to ever present this combination of powerful services, and it continues to be the only program of its kind in the eastern United States."

Girls Write Now has, in addition to mentoring sessions, writing workshops, a reading series, a Life Adventure series of writing and performance workshops, support for students parsing through the rigors of college admissions, events and activities, and scholarships and contests, but they created Girls Write Forever, a program that helps give supporters so many options to ensure the good work of Girls Write Now can continue into the future. (Now, if I can just figure out where they sell those great t-shirts!)

To support this organization with a donation or an in-kind donation please click here. To volunteer, here, and for litty girls in New York City, click here. And, if you find yourself in New York on January 18th, and you do roll on Shabbes, by all means, get yourself to the Winter Pair Reading and see your ten bucks doing a lot of good.