Donna, The Healing Hiker ™ visits WriteGirl.org
Inspired. Awestruck. Chills. Amazement. Connection.
These words sum up my reaction to attending WriteGirl’s culminating summer workshop and photo exhibit on August 13, 2016. The summer series of workshops were hosted by the very generous and supportive Huntington Gardens and Library. Photographer Jennah Ferrer-Foronda created the CLICK: WriteGirl at the Huntington workshop series in collaboration with WriteGirl. Learning to use creativity as expression of self is a lifelong tool that I sure wish I had learned when I was a teen! Being able to reach into your heart and express openly those feelings and thoughts is life changing. My heart was deeply touched by these girls and their willingness to show up for themselves. We can all learn so much from them!
WriteGirl was founded by Keren Taylor 15 years ago and is a non-profit organization that “empowers young girls in a time when many of them feel like they have no power”. This is accomplished through a series of ongoing creative writing workshops, photography workshops, mentoring, and continued support. Write girl provides opportunities for teen girls to obtain “career planning, a nurturing environment, caring mentors, a safe place to write, internships, encouragement, college guidance, positive women role models, and leadership skills.” Girls in the greater Los Angeles area ages 13-18 are permitted to apply for mentorship.
Hear what Communications Manager Katie Geyer has to share:
Many of the teen girls who participate in the WriteGirl program are from high-density schools and are considered high risk in the Los Angeles area and need more attention than can be provided in the school systems. What is so impressive is that 100% of the girls in the Core Mentoring Program (over the last 15 years) have graduated high school and gone on to college! Many of the girls have traveled overseas and continue to do things that are beyond anything they could have imagined before WriteGirl.
During the event, we had the honor of hearing many of the participants share their writing with us. It was powerful, bold, touching, insightful, honest, and strong writing. Even some of the newer girls got up and shared. I had the opportunity to talk to mentors and mentees during the event. Every girl shared that they get so much out of the workshops, mentoring, and caring that they receive from WriteGirl.
CONFIDENCE is what we saw in so many of the girls, hope in their eyes, lightness of spirit, and belief in themselves. This is pure empowerment, this is what changes lives and the world.
I had the chance to talk to a girl Lilly and she was so shy, very new to the program, and yet was willing to get up and share about her experience in front of a big crowd of strangers! It was a huge moment and so touching. At first she said no, but then went and did it anyway. Earlier, I had been talking to her and another girl about the power of learning to connect to our hearts to tell our stories. Learning to use our voice and stand tall and share our gifts is something that no one EVER can take from us. Then, she got up, and shared her story. Willing and BRAVE!
My friend Kelly and I went to this event together and were in tears several times listening to what the girls wrote and got chills so many times, we lost count! Watching the older girls navigate the crowd with complete confidence and listening to them articulate clearly what they have gained from the program made clear the effectiveness of Writegirl’s mentoring system and workshops.
There was also a photography exhibition of the girls’ work on display during the event. Not only do they teach photography and creative writing, there are specific workshops throughout the year for songwriting, screenwriting, poetry, and short stories, among others. They have singer/songwriters put the girls’ lyrics to music, have professional actors act out the girls’ mini-screenplays, publish writings in books, along with a host of other opportunities for the girls.
You can get involved by volunteering at an event, apply to be a mentor, or helping with fundraising. The details are all on the website: www.writegirl.org
Every mentor that I spoke to said the same thing “I am getting more from mentoring than I could have ever imagined.” Isn’t that always the case? We think we are helping others but most of time they end up helping us in ways we didn’t even know we needed. Having mentored women for 11 years myself, I also find this to be true!
If you are a professional woman and want to get involved, there are trainings required for the mentoring positions, so sign up now to get in on the trainings starting in September. Background checks are required to work with and mentor the girls directly. Corporate sponsorship and volunteers are always needed as well. NBCUniversal had a group of volunteers at this event as well. It’s good for business to get involved with the community and support the up and coming talent.
You can also sign up to volunteer at a monthly event or help in the office. There are lots of ways YOU can get involved. Honestly, this organization is doing powerful work and I can’t wait to get involved on a more regular basis. Helping girls learn how to use their voice, empower themselves, and become self-confident young women is what inspires me and drives my own sense of purpose.
Check out what Jennah has to share here:
Your donations and support are always welcome! Get involved and help make a difference in your own life and those of others TODAY!
You can donate to Writegirl by going here:
WriteGirl Information Sheet #11
Meditation Guide Here!
Get your 4 step Guide to Moving Meditaitons and not a lot of excess emails, I promise!