News (season 12- year 2012-2013)
Teen girls read their work on stage at the beautiful USC campus, in front of friends, family and the community.
WriteGirl Teens Take to the Stage at the LA Times Festival of Books
On April 20th and 21st, WriteGirl participated in the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at the USC campus. At the WriteGirl booth, volunteers shared information about our program, sold anthologies, and encouraged visitors to participate in a creative writing activity with prompts like, "What do you do when there's a power outage?" and "Describe the scent of a place you remember from long ago." It was the only booth with brightly colored index cards hanging from strings all over, covered in creative writing.
Sunday afternoon, WriteGirl held a reading on the Hoy stage. Mentees read pieces from No Character Limit: Truth & Fiction from WriteGirl, along with new work they've produced this season. Some of the girls read work for the first time, while others have become seasoned performers.
In addition to the reading, special guest Elizabeth Espinosa of CNN Latino and KTLA was interviewed on stage by a WriteGirl mentee on her career path and advice for aspiring young journalists. She kindly stayed after the reading for an impromptu Q&A, where she shared writing tips and career advice with the girls, many of whom are interested in pursuing journalism.
Special thanks to the Festival of Books for hosting us, and to Elizabeth Espinosa for her participation.
WriteGirl Intern Dulce Castrejon Speaks On CNN Latino Panel Discussion On Literacy
written by Dulce Castrejon
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to appear for a live interview on the television show, Sin Limites hosted by Elizabeth Espinosa on CNN Latino. The topic was literacy and the upcoming Festival of Books WriteGirl reading.
I was very hesitant to do it because it involved public speaking, but with the support of the WriteGirl staff, I was able to gather the courage to agree to the interview. On the way to the CNN Latino studio, Executive Director Keren Taylor helped me prepare. At this point my nerves had intensified. As time passed very slowly backstage, I was called to sit on the makeup chair and get ready for the interview. I stared at myself in the mirror, realizing that I was very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to appear on television as a spokesperson for WriteGirl. I resolved to get over my fears and enjoy the moment. From then on, though my nerves were still there, I was able to control them and smile.
During the live interview, I kept smiling. I paid careful attention to the conversation and I gave my input. Before I knew it, the interview was over. It was so quick and so much fun. Once I got home, I reflected on my appearance on television. I felt grateful for the opportunity, and thought "I can totally do this again."
Click here to view Dulce's appearance on CNN Latino!
MARCH 2013 NEWS:
Renowned Songwriters Help Teen Girls Write Lyrics
In anticipation of the GRAMMY Awards, non-profit organizations come together to create beautiful music for inner city teens at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Imagine being in high school and hearing your lyrics performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall? Nearly 100 teen girls experienced just that at WriteGirl’s 12th Annual Songwriting Workshop held Saturday, February 9th. In partnership with the Music Center Education Program, Vice President Mark Slavkin extended a generous welcome to Los Angeles teens and their WriteGirl mentors to gather in BP Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall to work with some of the industry’s top songwriters
Michelle Lewis, a singer/songwriter whose work has been performed by Cher, Jessica Simpson, Shawn Colvin and many more, helped lead the girls in understanding different musical genres, parts of songs, and invited many of her colleagues from the music industry to guide the girls through the lyric writing process.
Grand Park, in the heart of downtown LA's new urban center, created a wonderful opportunity for the girls to bond with their mentors in a beautiful and green outdoor setting as they ate lunch from Whole Foods.
In the afternoon, girls began writing lyrics and then took turns working directly with one of the 20 guest singer/ songwriters during one-on-one consultaions. WriteGirl Lola, who wrote a song about freedom and independence, said that working with the songwriters was her favorite part of the day. "I felt more confident about songwriting after that," she said.
At the end of the day, the musicians began to gather on stage, guitars in one hand, the girls' lyrics in the other. The energy in the room was palpable as our teens, mentors and parents listened to words the girls had just written being set to music by the renowned performers at one of the most unique and improvised concert experiences they'd ever attended. "It was cool to hear songs that people wrote," said one mentee.
A huge thank you to our workshop sponsors whose generosity made this workshop possible: The Good News Foundation and WriteGirl supporter Wendy Burch, ASCAP and the ASCAP Foundation and The Music Center Education Program.
No Character Limit launches at Mark Taper Auditorium
"The No Character Limit book launch and reading at the Mark Taper Auditorium was quite noteworthy. Many amazing teenage girls shared their wonderful poems and short stories. Many parents even joined in to experience the wonders of a pencil put to paper."
To read more from our WriteGirl mentee, Sharmin, age 14, go to Sharmin covers the WriteGirl book launch
A huge thank you to our special guest moderator, Cecil Castellucci, and to the Los Angeles Public Library for generously hosting our book launch.
Support WriteGirl, buy the book "No Character Limit".
Now on sale for $19.95.
Learn more about WriteGirl's anthologies
College Acceptance Letters Rolling in
for WriteGirl Seniors
WriteGirl's Bold Futures Program, which provides college support and internship opportunities for WriteGirl teens, has helped high school seniors submit over 100 college applications thus far this year, and their efforts are beginning to come to fruition. They've already received acceptance letters from Reed College, Oberlin College, Bucknell University, Cal State Channel Islands and California College of the Arts, just to name a few.
We're so proud of them! We'll be sure to update you as our girls continue to learn about this exciting new chapter in their lives.
WriteGirl Cafe: Serving Up Writing Advice
Drawing on the tradition of writers gathering in cafes, WriteGirl created a lively bistro setting, complete with delicious pastires donated by Porto's Bakery, for girls and their mentors to choose and refine their pieces for the upcoming 13th annual WriteGirl anthology.
To help inspire and direct them, stations were set up around the room. Forever-WG offered agirl who wasn't sure what to submit a closet-full of probing questions - draped playfully on hangers - to tease out which piece in her journal was ripe for a rewrite. At the Emo Drive Thru, she could explore the tone and mood of her piece, trying on a new attitude or strengthening the one she already had. WriteGirl Radio gave her an opportunity to smooth out the rhythm and flow by recording and listening to a playback of her piece. On The Boardwalk, a WriteGirl could consult with Madame Reviso, who gazed into her crystal ball and issued editing instructions for a brighter future.
We even had a few brand new WriteGirls at the workshop. For them - and girls uninspired by the contents of their journals - The Garden provided a cozy spot and inspirations to cultivate new work. For the girl further along in her editing, a visit to the doctor was in order. At WriteGirl M.D., she reviewed her work with an editorial consultant who gave her just the right prescription to move her writing forward.
The day was not entirely self-directed, however. In small groups the WriteGirls and mentors edited three abysmal poems: "Puppies," "Butterflies" and "Love." Each group reported back on what editing approach they took, the success of their efforts, and what they might try differently next time.
Now, all of us at WriteGirl are eagerly awaiting the girls' submissions.
"Today I learned that even though a piece doesn't sound perfect now, it doesn't mean it lacks potential."
– a WriteGirl Mentee
Skylight Books Reading
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 at 5 pm
1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027
A beautiful bookstore in Los Feliz has become a part of WriteGirl tradition. Come sit under the Skylight Books tree and enjoy some poetry and prose written and read by our WriteGirl teens.
To RSVP to this one-of-a-kind WriteGirl experience, please email us at RSVP@writegirl.org or call the WriteGirl office at 213.253.2655.
FEBRUARY 2013 NEWS:
Dr. Allison Deegan, WriteGirl Associate Director,
wins SHeroes award
WriteGirl is proud to announce that Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. will be honoring WriteGirl volunteer, Associate Director and Education Team leader, Dr. Allison Deegan, at his 7th “Annual Tribute to SHeroes” Awards Ceremony.
A “SHero” is a woman who has demonstrated leadership, pride, volunteerism, and commitment to her community in a remarkable manner.
The success of WriteGirl and our mentees is greatly due to Allison’s devotion to the organization. She allocates a significant amount of her time on College Preparedness Workshops, reading over personal statements, tracking the successes of our alumnae, and strategically planning the future of the organization. She's an inspiration to both our mentees and volunteers.
Professionally, Allison is an administrator with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, where she focuses on fiscal and policy issues, providing extensive service to all school and community college districts in Los Angeles County.
We're so proud of Allison for receiving this honor as she is truly deserving of it as a WriteGirl and Los Angeles SHero!
12th Annual Songwriting Workshop
at Walt Disney Concert Hall
We are so excited to partner with The Music Center to hold this year's Songwriting Workshop at BP Hall in Walt Disney Concert Hall. The venue couldn't be more inspiring and we have a great line-up of guest singer/songwriters who will be performing lyrics written by the girls at the end of the day.
We have limited availability for some WriteGirl supporters to attend and experience the end of day performances. This is one of the most exciting and dynamic workshops of the year and the songs written by our teens and sung by our guests are something you won't want to miss.
Please call the WriteGirl office to RSVP to this one of a kind WriteGirl experience, 213.253.2655.
To learn more about the workshop and our singer/songwriters click here
"I learned so much about songwriting. I had never been interested in songwriting or even singing, but this workshop made me feel more comfortable with getting out of my comfort zone. My favorite part would be when all the talented artists sang all our songs. I wish I recorded it all."
– a WriteGirl Mentee
Book Launch – No Character Limit: Truth & Fiction from WriteGirl on Saturday, January 12, 2013
WriteGirl is proud to announce the release of its 11th anthology, "No Character Limit." Authors from the book, both WriteGirl teens and mentors, will take to the stage to share excerpts with friends, family and supporters. January is also National Mentoring Month!
When: Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 2:30 p.m.
Where: Downtown Public Library – Mark Taper Auditorium
We look forward to seeing you there! For more details, please visit the WriteGirl Calendar.
January is National Mentoring Month
January is National Mentoring Month, and to celebrate the work that our incredible volunteers do, we wanted to shine a light on some of the incredible stories of inspiration and guidance afforded our teens by the women who are the driving force of our organization.
Who are WriteGirl Mentors?
WriteGirl is very fortunate to have such a dynamic and talented group of women to mentor our girls. Each of them go above and beyond their roles as a volunteer to be incredible guides to Los Angeles teens and to help our organization to thrive.
"…WriteGirl is great because my mentor always has time to give me honest feedback on my work. It's encouraging to know that someone other than my mom believes that I can succeed as a professional writer"
- WriteGirl Mentors are poets, screenwriters, teachers, grantwriters, journalists and more.
- WriteGirl Mentors often work with a teen for 3-4 years.
- WriteGirl Mentors are invested in their teens future and help with college applications and scholarship processes.
- Every WriteGirl Mentor volunteers her time on a WriteGirl team, such as events, curriculum or book editing, above and beyond her role as a mentor.
–Laura, WriteGirl Mentee
Mentor Spotlight: Retta Putignano, Mentor of 3
Every once in while a volunteer comes along who says yes, and keeps saying yes. Yes to one-on-one mentoring. Yes to planning special events. Yes to appearing in front of the entire membership in a play written just hours before by one of our girls.
Retta Putignano is this volunteer. Retta has been with WriteGirl for over eight years, and the size and strength of her commitment have only gotten greater in that time.
Retta’s mentored two WriteGirl teens through our program and on to college, and she is currently mentoring her third teen. They try to meet weekly—teen girls are very busy!—and write together.
"Aside from being charming, supportive, and kind, one of my favorite things about Retta and having had her as my mentor is the way she could make me laugh. Spending hours over coffee and our notebooks cackling like hyenas together, and coming up with new ideas amidst the cookie crumbs and mayhem. She is someone who I will always look up to, as well as love, and has inspired me in a way that helped make me the person I am today, for which I will always be grateful."
Portia, WriteGirl Alum
Retta also volunteers on the Events Team, planning fundraisers and special events—venues, food, guests… and silent auctions. Retta leads a team of silent auction fairies who generate miraculous donations, set up enticing displays and run flawless auctions.
WriteGirl is lucky to have Retta’s skills, her dedication, her leadership. She honors WriteGirl with her steadfast commitment, even as we honor her.
The Power of Words -
WriteGirl at the National Center for
the Preservation of Democracy
The power of words was not lost on our teens as they wandered the rooms and halls of the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy. Built on the location of the first Buddhist temple in Los Angeles, the space is now home to the stories of seven immigrants before, during and after World War II, and our girls and their mentors dove into the lives of these strangers to find inspiration. Teens and mentors toured the exhibit, following each person through their trials and triumphs into the States, using language to express the theme of change and being inspired by history.
"I loved today’s combination of poetry and history and news. I loved Jen Hofer's concept of the “space between an object and a word” making the meaning from a language we all interpret in multiple ways. I couldn’t think of a better way to study for my English Final!"
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