Helping girls write their way to more positive futures.
Did you know...
...41 of our girls graduated high school last year. And do you know how many of them are going to college? All of them. That’s right, for over a decade, WriteGirl has continued its outstanding tradition of ensuring that 100% of our girls go to college.
For the thirteenth year in a row, WriteGirl has successfully guided 100% of the seniors in its Core Mentoring Program to not only graduate from high school but also enroll in college, with many obtaining full or partial scholarships.
WriteGirl teens are accomplishing great things. A WriteGirl teen was recently selected to be a youth delegate for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and another received a Scholastic Art & Writing Award. In 2014, a WriteGirl teen was selected
as the first LA Youth Poet Laureate, and four other WriteGirl teens were finalists.
The effects of WriteGirl programming can be felt long after a girl graduates from high school. WriteGirl alumnae continue to succeed long past college graduation, earning prestigious internships and admittance to graduate programs, and choosing professions that will enable them to make a difference in their communities and the world.
Girls who participate in WriteGirl develop vital communication skills, self-confidence, critical thinking skills, deeper academic engagement and enhanced creativity for a lifetime of increased opportunities.
Alma Castrejon, a UC Riverside and Cal State Long Beach graduate, works for the UCLA Labor Center, focusing on immigrant rights and outreach.
Jeanine Daniels, a Pitzer College graduate, is a writer and producer of the acclaimed web series, The Couple, and is working on her first feature film.
Ariel Edwards-Levy, a USC graduate, is a political journalist with the Huffington Post in Washington, D.C.
Glenda Garcia, a Dickinson College graduate, is a WriteGirl staff member focusing on membership, after returning from a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand.
Jennifer Gottesfield, a UCLA graduate, is working on public health initiatives and mentoring youth in Malawi.
Nadine Levyfield, a UC Berkeley graduate, recently completed a year- long national fellowship with Hillel in Washington, D.C., and is working in philanthropy in Los Angeles.
Perla Melendez, a UC Santa Barbara graduate, is a teacher at the Heads Up program.
Corrie Siegel, a Bard College graduate, is an education manager at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles.
Jennifer Swann, an Art Institute of Chicago graduate, is a writer for the Los Angeles Weekly.
Lovely Umayam, a Reed College graduate, is a fellow with the U.S. Department of Energy, focusing on nuclear nonproliferation.
WriteGirl Mentee Alejandra - A Latina With A Diverse and Bold Future
Alejandra looks forward to becoming the first in her family to obtain a college degree in June of 2015 with an open horizon.
“WriteGirl gave me the confidence to go after what my heart desires. Right now I’m considering a career in either primary education, social work or the non-profit world.”
When Alejandra isn’t reading and or/writing about gender, race and social class, she enjoys writing poetry, songs and plays. She is currently working on a play titled “How Ms. Long Beach Became Ms. Long Beach,” which will be produced by The Theatre of Kalamazoo College in the Spring of 2014.
Forever A WriteGirl
Alejandra Castillo first got involved with Los Angeles-based non-profit organization, WriteGirl, in the spring of 2009. “I first joined WriteGirl as a high school intern at their office, and I remember having a weird déjà vu feeling as Executive Director Keren Taylor interviewed me when we first met. I’ve been a WriteGirl ever since,” she says. Four years later, in summer of 2013, she finds herself once again at the WriteGirl office, this time as a college intern. “The new WriteGirl office is bigger and fresher but the vibe is the same: creative, inviting and powered by women. I came back because I want to be as ready as I can be to enter the workforce when I graduate college in two years,” says Alejandra.
Teen girls build self-confidence as they take a microphone in their hands for the first time and voice their opinions at WriteGirl workshops and events.
“I remember being too shy to share my poems when I first joined WriteGirl. Now I understand that the simple act of speaking one’s thoughts and feelings out loud and being rewarded with sincere support is a privilege that many girls around the world never experience, so I no longer take that for granted.”
From Los Angeles To “The Zoo”
“My three siblings dropped out of high school in the 9th grade – the fact that I’m an uprising junior at a prestigious liberal arts college is truly a dream come true, not just for me but for my whole family.” Alejandra attends Kalamazoo College (also known as “Kzoo” or “The Zoo”), in Kalamazoo, Michigan. During her senior year at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, WriteGirl nominated Alejandra and she was successful in being awarded a coveted Posse scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship awarded to young leaders from urban backgrounds.
“From the moment you walk into a WriteGirl workshop you are challenged to think critically about the world around you, to write about it, and then to voice it out as loud as possible.”
Leadership, communication skills and self-confidence are just a few of the life-changing tools that WriteGirls like Alejandra will take with them to any career they choose to pursue.
Remarks by WriteGirl alumna Glenda Garcia given at the Bold Ink Awards November 5, 2012
In high school, I realized there was nowhere to go for a girl like me — a Latina with a lot of angst, idealistic dreams and enormous ideas of how things should be in a fair world. I was so fortunate to find WriteGirl, an organization that was not only invested in my success, but also genuinely cared about what I had to say.
WriteGirl provides a safe space for young women to establish their voices as writers, activists, artists and much more. WriteGirl is a stepping-stone to marvelous opportunities.
During college application season, my WriteGirl mentor nominated me for the full-tuition Posse Foundation scholarship. In 2005, I commenced my time at Dickinson College as a Posse Scholar. This allowed me to intern in our nation's capital and travel to India and Venezuela. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Dickinson College with a degree in Women's and Gender Studies. I joined AmeriCorps VISTA as an after school coordinator and teacher for an underprivileged community in Arizona. My time with WriteGirl helped me understand that learning does not end in the classroom. It flows out into community centers, coffee shops, bookstores, libraries and especially mentoring programs.
I recently completed my term as a Fulbright grantee in Thailand. My journey there began at my first WriteGirl workshop in 2002. As a low-income Latina from a single-parent household, I know that I would not be the woman I am without WriteGirl's guidance and support. WriteGirl allowed me to enhance my writing and speaking skills through one-on-one mentoring and public readings.
I was allowed to share my opinions with professional women writers without the limitations of a school bell or an impatient schoolteacher. WriteGirl is a family that I turn to for inspiration, support and motivation.
I am honored to stand here tonight sharing my love for a group of women that are truly changing the world one girl at a time.
As we say in Thailand, Sawaadee Ka!
– Glenda Garcia, WriteGirl alumna