Dear Friends of Project Write Now:
We could not make an impact without YOU!
Thanks to your support …
We have given people of all ages safe spaces to write their stories—building self-awareness, resilience, and confidence.
We have given our youth essential tools not only to combat depression, anxiety, and stress but to gain the clarity and insight needed to have a stronger sense of self.
We have created and deepened connection and community—generating compassion, empathy, and hope.
Is there anything more essential in our world today?
“I’m more brave and outgoing. I never realized what I write could be so powerful.”
“PWN is a place where I can write freely, a place where I can improve my writing skills and talk to others about my ideas.”
“[Through writing] I can make myself feel relaxed from stressful things. I can feel my mental health improving.”
Thanks to your generosity …
Some of the community outreach programs we provided this year include:
– The Spoken Word Project with the creative writing class at Asbury Park High School
– Weekly writing workshops for the 7th and 8th grade AVID class at Red Bank Middle School
– An after-school writing program for 4th through 8th graders at Red Bank Middle School
– Expressive writing workshops for Lunch Break’s Alliance for Success program for 11th and 12th graders at Red Bank Regional High School
– New writing clubs for children ages 10-12, adults, and teachers in India
– Six issues of Bridge Ink, our online young adult literary journal, featuring writing from teens all over the world
– PWN Teen Lit Fest, an all-day writing event for more than 75 teens and teachers.
– Summer programs for Red Bank Middle School, Red Bank Regional High School, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (Asbury Park & Red Bank), Positive Youth Development Hub, and Family Based Services Association of New Jersey
– College and scholarship essay support for students at Red Bank Regional High School and Asbury Park High School
– Twice monthly writing workshops for Shore House, a clubhouse for adults living with mental illness
– Writing workshops for teachers in our Teacher Writing Collaborative
– A monthly writing program for clients of Senior Space
– A guided journaling program for adults of the Red Bank Public Library
– Weekly Friday drop-in Zoom classes for adults
– A monthly writing workshop and Open Mic at Asbury Book Cooperative
– A monthly Zoom Open Mic for adults
– 74 scholarship seats totaling nearly $15,150 for our fee-based programs
To read more about all of the community outreach programs we provided this year, click here.
Thank you for your kindness, generosity & support!
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and joyful 2023!
The Project Write Now Team
Project Write Now 2022 Highlights
Asbury Park High School
This semester with the seniors at APHS we dealt with the topic of “transitions,” addressing two critical areas: Values & Vision. The students were charged with selecting the most important values and domains of vision to them. They developed a brief roadmap of how they can use values and vision to help them identify and ignore distractions; they also discussed how being clear on what they want can help push through the tough times in life. We were impressed with their thoughtful insights and we’re excited to see how they incorporate their values and vision into their lives.
Bridge Ink 6.6
We have put together a special issue of Bridge Ink featuring interview stories written by teens who participated in The Interview Project during the summer of 2022. This project required teens to interview members of Lunch Break—a nonprofit that freely provides food, clothing, life skills, and fellowship to those in need in Monmouth County and beyond—and document the stories they want to preserve. Project Write Now has been working with Lunch Break for many years, and we are so proud that our teen writers shared their stories!
Every Friday, we host a one-hour writing workshop on Zoom during which we write in response to prompts on a designated theme. This month, we explored the themes—“Can,” “Time,” and “Winter Idioms.” 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 month we had our first meeting with the writers from Parker House. We discussed what brought us and where we are in our writing practice, leading with the prompt: “I am here” and “I am.” We then made a list of stepping stones, important moments in each of our life’s journeys. Out of that list we picked one stone that buzzed with the most energy and wrote the first sentence of our memoirs. We look forward to coming back in January!
Poetry & Plants
We had an amazing experience at our Poetry & Plants event in collaboration with Kula Urban Farm in Asbury Park this month! It was such an inspiring space filled with rich sensory experiences. We are so grateful to Meredith Avakian for guiding all of us in writing and sharing deeply intimate pieces. Stay tuned for our next Poetry & Plants event coming this spring!
PWN Teen’s Off The Page
This month we concluded our first-ever season of our new YouTube teen talk show, Off The Page. This talk show was created by PWN Teen Ambassadors and is dedicated to all things creative writing. In our first episode, teen hosts Sarah and Khushreet discuss how their writing lives were impacted through the pandemic and share tips on how to stay focused and draw inspiration in hard times. In episode two, our hosts talk about the benefits of being a part of the PWN Teen family. They interview previous Teen Writing Group leader, Nyla, current Teen Writing Group co-leader, Alex, and PWN founder and executive director, Jennifer Chauhan. In episode three, Sarah and Khushreet, as well as guests Sukhreet and Nathalia, give their favorite book recs and give short readings. In episode four, Sarah interviews PWN’s Teen Writing Group co-leader, Ella Chando, as well as PWN’s program coordinator, Lisa Hartsgrove, who share their writing inspiration and give tips from their own writing experiences. In episode five, guest host Vivian DeRosa interviews teen-turned-college writers: Isabel, Maggie, and our usual host, Khushreet. They discuss their teen writing lives and ways they’ve gotten their words out into the world, including standard publishing and alternate forms. We are so proud of all of our PWN Teen Ambassadors and guests for their hard work putting this first season together!
Red Bank Middle School
– 7th & 8th Grade
We practiced word play and metaphor with the 7th & 8th grade RBMS AVID students this month. First, we read “Uncouplings” by Craig Arnold. Then, we made lists of words we like and lists of words within those words underneath. For example, “I” is in “family.” So is “may,” “my,” “film,” etc. Then we took a moment to see if we could make any connections between our original words and the words we found within them. We free-wrote from our discoveries and came up with some pretty powerful messages! One student wrote about the son her parents always wanted that’s hidden in her name—Madison. Another wrote about how there’s a hidden end in every friend. And another gave meaning to one letter in each of her friends’ names, which ultimately added up to spell out “Loyalty.” Who knew such deep metaphor could be so easy to write? We’re always so inspired by these young writers!
– PWN Writing Club: 4th & 5th
We wrapped up our PWN Writing Club by doing blackout poetry. We gave each of the writers a page from Charlotte’s Web and guided them to “black out” writing to unearth the words that spoke to them. Then we had them draw and color to make the poems pop. What an incredible time we had with these talented writers and artists! We look forward to our winter session, which will start in January.
– PWN Quest Club (6th-8th)
For our last session of PWN Quest Club, we had our Holiday Celebration. During our session, we made Quest Club Holiday Cards and pictures and shared holiday stories. We then jumped right in to play three rounds of speed writing. Speed writing is pulling our Quest Club questions from the box and creating any expressive writing piece we desire. We then gathered in a community circle to share our writing pieces while enjoying our candy canes. We ended the session with writing our favorite moments we had during this fall session.
Red Bank Public Library
This month with the writers at the Red Bank Public Library, we wrote about family traditions and all things food. We read excerpts from Sonja Livingston’s memoir, Ghostbread, and The Undocumented Americans, by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio. A lively discussion ensued about overrated and underrated foods eaten around the holidays.
Shore House (Long Branch)
We had a blast making buttons at Shore House this month! First we did a brain dump, writing about anything that was on our minds. And then we talked about flash fiction and nonfiction—how we can boil our thoughts down to one powerful sentence. We practiced writing flash pieces from our free-writes and then we wrote our sentences on slips of paper to be turned into buttons. We were thrilled to see the members wearing their words proudly! Then, we read “Dreams” by Langston Hughes. We talked about what it means to manifest—not to say “I want this someday” but instead to say “I will have it.” We made lists of future goals including tangible things like “getting an apartment” and intangible things like “having confidence.” From our lists, we pulled the words and phrases that we wanted to manifest the most, and then we wrote them on buttons as physical reminders of our daily visions. It was such a powerful month writing and creating at Shore House!
Teacher Writing Collaborative
We concluded our fall session of the TWC with a special winter-themed activity. We read the poem “Uncouplings” by Craig Arnold and then using a list of holiday- and winter-related words, we looked at all of the “words within the words” to inspire our pieces. We are so grateful to the teachers who spend this inspirational hour with us. Join us as we kick off the winter TWC on January 19! All teachers are welcome.
Teen Writing Group
Our teen writers have been supportively holding each other accountable each week to write both in and out of class. Our teen leaders provide thoughtful prompts for in-the-moment writing while they also offer each student the opportunity to submit something they’ve written outside of class to the group for deeper feedback. We are always so impressed with their dedication, compassion, and creativity! Join us for our next session of Teen Writing Group, starting January 19!
Write Out Loud
Thank you to all who came to our special holiday-themed Write Out Loud event this month! We loved playing with language with you and we’re so grateful for the stories you shared. We’re also always so grateful to the Asbury Book Cooperative for partnering with us and providing such an inspiring space. Join us for our next Write Out Loud event on Tuesday, January 10!
Writers Showcase & Open Mic
Our Writers Showcase & Open Mic was such an incredible night! Screenwriters, musicians, poets, memoirists, novelists, and more came to share the inspiring pieces they’ve written with us at PWN. We are so grateful to all who came to read and support us and we are so proud of your work! We’ll definitely be having more events like this in the future, so stay tuned!
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 the pandemic began, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the need for financial assistance and therefore have met that need by offering more scholarship seats. For 2022, we awarded 72 seats totaling $15,150! For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.