Dear Friends of Project Write Now:
We know how empowering it is for young people not only to write their stories but also to read their pieces out loud in front of a live audience—giving them the opportunity to express their authentic voices, thoughts, feelings, and perspectives.
Thank you to the Two River Theater for inviting our young adult writers to participate in the Crossing Borders Festival, a four-day celebration of Latine theater artists.
Each of our young writers—Nathalia Garcia, Mar Mejia, Samantha Martinez, and Edith Lozano Zane—wrote and shared an original piece to kick off each of the staged readings.
In a world that’s increasingly digital, the live, human experience of sharing and hearing original writings is a powerful way to connect, understand, and grow.
We would not be able to provide these life-changing programs without YOU!
Whether you’ve taken a class, signed your child up for a class, participated in one of our events, or given a generous gift, YOU help us provide meaningful writing experiences that foster authenticity, connection, and empathy.
With love & gratitude,
Bell Works: A Happier Hour
The creative space at Bell Works provides the perfect backdrop for creative writing. This month, we re-found the lost art of letter writing. We each wrote a letter to a person in our lives—loved ones who’ve passed away, parents, and even our cat! We realized how intimate writing letters can be, and how healing. Then we opened the space for sharing outside work. Join us for our next Happier Hour on Tuesday, September 26!
Bridge Ink 7.3 – Rainbow Ink
We are thrilled to release our latest, very special issue of Bridge Ink, called RAINBOW INK! Bridge Ink is our online literary journal for teens. For this feature Pride-themed issue, Bridge Ink partnered with Let’s Say Gay. Let’s Say Gay is a queer youth literary journal designed to create space for the LGBTQ+ community. This issue was open to queer artists between the ages of 13 and 18 and we are so grateful to all who submitted. Be sure to read these incredible pieces!
Family-Based Services Association of NJ (youth)
Over the four weeks we spent with the youth of Family-Based Services, our goal was to have our writers be creative in their writing through self-reflection prompts, brain dumps, journaling, creative letters, and draw-in-response-to session topics. We kicked off our first session by writing letters addressed to summer. This activity was a perfect way to beat the heat, getting acquainted with the season, as we explored hopes, plans, and memories of summers past and present. During other sessions, we explored the writers’ sense of self and their creativity. We used pictures, words, or a few lines to talk about who we are, how we’re feeling, and what a day in our lives might look like when things are at their best (Barbie style). We created affirmation writing boards to use as a pick me up or gentle reminder of our gifts and what makes us special.
Kaleidoscope: Ink & Identity (teen open mic)
Kaleidoscope: Ink & Identity was such a magical event! It was our first in-person teen open mic since the pandemic! We are so grateful to all of the powerful young writers who came and shared their work with us and those who submitted work for us to share. Extra special thank you to our teen ambassadors, especially Bernice and Celeste, for bringing this event to life!
On Fridays, we host a one-hour writing workshop on Zoom during which we write in response to themed writing prompts. This month, we explored the themes—“Nice,” “Lost,” and “Butterflies.” Though writers never have to share, we always enjoy hearing one another’s pieces and have formed an incredible, supportive community. Join us for our next Lunchtime Write-In to see what our upcoming themes will be!
This summer, we were so excited to be part of the Monmouth Stars Summer Camp, which was held at Red Bank Middle School for rising 4th through 7th graders. Our instructors provided fun, engaging writing experiences that allowed students to tap into their imaginations while also building confidence and strengthening literacy skills. During the first two weeks, we explored what it means to be a writer and then crafted stories based on our own lives. Then, we researched and wrote “All About” books on topics we know a lot about. We had books on dogs, friendship, soccer, and even the town of Red Bank. We’re so grateful to have had Parker Gmelich, founder of the nonprofit ReadyReader, visit every Tuesday with her Bookmobile to share her love of reading. We loved watching these young authors in action! Project Write Now is honored to be part of this collaboration with STEAMpark and the Monmouth County Vocational School District. We are also grateful to all of our sponsors and community partners, especially the Red Bank Borough Public Schools for hosting this pilot program.
PWN India (youth)
This summer, we had fun writing with children ages 10-12, spinning our own personal stories into more fictional ones with zany characters who had problems that needed to be solved. We learned how to move our fictional stories along by using dialogue, action, and inner thinking. We learned about catchy leads to hook our readers and shared pictures we drew of our characters. These characters really came alive by week six and it felt like we had made six new friends in class. Everyone loved sharing and by the end of our session, it was hard to say goodbye. One of our returning students even commented, “This was my fourth time doing class with PWN and I have seen tremendous growth in my communication skills and English writing skills … I love attending these classes and will positively come back!”
PWN Teen Summer Space
We finished Teen Summer Space this month and had so much fun that we forgot to take a group photo! Through the program we learned ekphrastic writing, how we can use art as inspiration. We jumped into our imaginations and leaned into “what if” scenarios, which is another way of finding inspiration. We were inspired by our own memories and experiences. And we ended by using our favorite songs as prompts, swapping songs to inspire each other, and then playing an INTENSE game of Twenty Questions. We had such a blast with this group and hope that we’ll see these students again in Teen Writing Space this September!
Shore House (Long Branch)
Our PWN teen intern Bernice led the classes at Shore House this month! For our first class, Bernice shared a video of the poem “Love Letter from the Toothbrush to the Bicycle Tire,” by Sarah Kay, to introduce the idea of personification. We then each wrote down two random inanimate objects and swapped our papers so everyone recieved two new ideas. We made lists of human attributes for each object and then wrote conversations between them. The members loved the lesson and were so grateful and excited to have a new guest to lead them. For our second class, Bernice shared the poem “Self-Portrait With & Without” by Chen Chen and then had us all make lists. The lists were building representations of who we are through: 10 verbs, 10 adjectives, 10 nouns, and 1 of each of the senses. We used those lists to inspire stories and poems that became self-portraits of each of us. We loved what the members came up with and we are so grateful to intern Bernice for inspiring these amazing ideas!
Asbury Book Cooperative: Write Out Loud
This month, we brought back our infamous Wheel of Writing and spun the wheel for prompts. We had lots of great responses to the prompts: Food Fight, A Coincidence, Dinner Party, and Going Too Fast. We are so grateful to the Asbury Book Cooperative for providing such an inspiring space. Join us for our next Write Out Loud on September 12!
Through our mission as a nonprofit organization, we remove barriers to participating in our fee-based classes by providing full and partial scholarship seats as well as payment plans. Since 2020, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the need for financial assistance and therefore have met that need by offering more scholarship seats. For 2023, we’ve already awarded 33 seats totaling $12,120. For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.