Located in Los Angeles, WriteGirl is a one-on-one mentoring and monthly creative writing workshop model for girls 13-18 years old. Started in 2001, WriteGirl has grown to become a recognized, and highly awarded, mentoring model for its efforts to promote creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills to empower teen girls.
WriteGirl serves over 300 at-risk teen girls in Los Angeles County. The Core Mentoring Program pairs at-risk teen girls from more than 60 schools with professional women writers for one-on-one mentoring, workshops, internships and college admission and scholarship guidance. In 2001, WriteGirl launched a 24-week creative writing program for incarcerated teens, and in 2012 successfully guided a 12-week series of workshops in Peru under the name Escriba Chica.
WriteGirl has published a dozen anthologies of writing from young girls and women of the WriteGirl project, as well as Pens On Fire: Creative Writing Guide for Teachers & Youth Leaders. Their most recent collection, You Are Here: The WriteGirl Journey also includes a section on writing experiments to inspire writing and editing.
You Are Here is a gorgeously printed publication with over 100 contributors and additional information about WriteGirl and their activities. What I enjoyed most about it was the addition of a single comment from some of the authors to say a bit about their works. Some explain the activity, such as this from Anneliese Gelberg (age 16) to explain her prose poem “Dreaming”: “At a WriteGirl Workshop, the activity was to write about a favorite place. I thought of my bedroom – bu more importantly, I thought of that place we all go when we’re waking up or falling asleep.” And this one, from Kathryn Cross (age 14) to comment on her prose piece “Joy”: “I wrote this piece after not making the volleyball team.”
For anyone who is interested in working with teens and writing, especially at-risk youth, WriteGirl provides a excellent model to follow and publications to inspire and guide.