Here’s what we’ve been up to this past month via Zoom! If you are interested in bringing a program to your school or organization, email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bridge Ink 5.1
We are thrilled to announce our newest issue of Bridge Ink! This is the first issue of volume five, which marks FIVE YEARS since we first released our teen literary magazine. This issue features work written by teens located in Florida, Wisconsin, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey! We are still in awe of the spread of our magazine over the years and our ability to collect so many voices from all over the world in one place. Bridge Ink is one of our proudest achievements at PWN, and we’re sure you will understand why when you read the honest, daring, authentic voices we publish. Check it out today, here!
Red Bank Middle School
We brought spoken word artist and writer Christian Elijah to our 7th and 8th grade RBMS AVID class twice this month to lead the students in writing and reflecting on the theme of love. Christian discussed the power of vulnerability and authenticity, the difference between like and love (both in real life and on social media), and left the students with “love tools.” Gratitude, expression, creativity, affirmations, and self-care are tools for showing and maintaining love. We followed Christian’s coattails in our last class of the month, moving into self-love and separating ourselves from our emotions by turning them into characters and writing letters to them. There’s nothing we LOVE more than seeing love in action in our teachers, our students, and our writing!
21st Century Community Learning Center (Long Branch)
The 3rd graders in the after-school program in Long Branch have been joyfully writing during the month of February. We created heart maps to capture things and people we love, giving us writers so many meaningful ideas. Each week, we focus on strategies that help us tell a story in the moment instead of summarizing. The children are excited to share on screen and are truly engaged, so we can’t ask for more!
Spoken Word Project at Asbury Park High School
We kicked off another session of our Spoken Word Project at Asbury Park High School, this time with the creative writing class. On our first day, spoken word teaching artists Mychal Mills of KYDS, Phil “Midnight” Curtis, and Christian Elijah performed for the students. After a short Q&A with the artists, we wrote about where we find inspiration. During these first weeks, we spend time generating writing to find the stories we want to shape into the pieces we will perform on the last day. We are excited to see what the students come up with!
Shore House (Long Branch)
Back in December, we learned that many of our Shore House writers are also visual artists, so we created a special art class just for them. We focused on “process” and observing how art forms through paint pouring: Instead of using tools, fluid acrylic paints are poured directly onto a surface and the canvas is tilted to move the paint around. We were able to provide supplies to the members ahead our virtual class, and get messy together. The following week, we used our finished art pieces as writing prompts. It’s always fun to use art as a prompt, but even more so when the art was made by us!
Red Bank Public Library
We read the New York Times short story, Aunts, by Kristen Martin, with the writers at The Red Bank Public Library this month. We raised the questions: How did this piece resonate with you? Is there a special relative/friend/teacher who guided you in life? A special someone who got you through a vulnerable or heartbreaking time? Our writers were authentic and introspective in their responses. We invite you to read the article and if that special someone is still with you, reach out and start a dialogue!
“Womyn’s Worth” at Lunch Break
This month with the Womyn’s Worth mentoring group, we dove into writing about our feelings. We spoke about how writing about our emotions can help us process them, moving them out of our bodies and onto the page. Then we read a few examples of how J. Ruth Gender personified feelings in The Book of Qualities before we crafted our own pieces. The responses were creative and full of discoveries. We always leave these sessions feeling energized and inspired!
Teacher Writing Collaborative
Every other Thursday, teachers from various middle and high schools get together to talk and write together. Not only do we inspire one another but we also share resources, including books we love, events we’ve attended, and lesson plans that have worked. One teacher who recently joined told us that the group has made such a positive impact on her teaching and writing that she is now writing alongside her students. Another teacher emailed Project Write Now after the class was over to thank us for creating such a wonderful space. Teachers of all grades are welcome to join at any time. Our next meeting is Thursday, March 11, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Learn more and register here.
Zoom Open Mic
This month, more than twenty adults came to read or listen as writers shared their talents on screen. Pieces ranged from heart wrenching to heart warming, from poetry to memoir to flash fiction to music. We are so grateful for the community that forms when writers and artists come together to share their voice, their stories, and their talents. Stay tuned for the date of our next Zoom Open Mic!
Teen Writing Group
We had one of our biggest groups yet in our past session of Teen Writing Group, with a total of fifteen students in attendance! A few of our new students found us through the Spoken Word Project we provided at Asbury Park High School, and it was so wonderful to merge our worlds in this space. The teens met every week to write on prompts crafted by our teen leaders, and felt safe enough to share their works week after week. Each student even volunteered to share a larger work for a deeper critique from the group. If you’d like to learn more or sign up for the next session of our Teen Writing Group, click here.
PWN Teen Instagram
Are you a teen seeking writing prompts, book recommendations, and resources to deepen your writing life? Then join us on our PWN Teen Instagram here! Although this is a teen account, teens and adults alike can benefit from our content. We post everything you need to keep you inspired and motivated to write. We also host Teen Takeovers on our Story, where teens have been showcasing what they’re reading, writing, and what their individual writing processes look like. We are so proud of their hard work! (If you are interested in becoming the next Teen Takeover on our IG, please email program coordinator Lisa Hartsgrove at email@example.com.)
Friday Lunchtime Write-In
Every Friday, we meet on Zoom from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. to write in response to prompts on a designated theme. This month we’ve explored themes on “Back,” “Love,” and “Ekphrasis.” We also hosted a special Second Helpings class, which was an extended version of our usual generative meeting. Participants wrote for three hours on prompts under the themes of “Before” and “After,” with a short lunch break in-between. One writer found herself writing to her child-self while another shared the love story between she and her spouse and how it has shifted through the years. Some join to write poetry while others write longer narrative prose. Nothing is off-limits! We always enjoy hearing one another’s pieces and have formed an incredible, supportive community of writers. Join us for our next Lunchtime Write-In to discover what our upcoming themes will be! *All proceeds support our community outreach programs.
Through our mission as a nonprofit organization, we assist in removing barriers to participating in our studio 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. Since January 2021, we have provided 17 adult and 7 youth/teen seats totaling $3,455. For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.