Dear Friends of Project Write Now:
Happy 2024! We are especially thrilled to be in the year 2024 because we turn 10 this September!
According to WebMD, age 10 “is a year when [children] undergo big changes in all areas of their life, including physical growth. They’re also starting to solve problems logically and are likely to be more independent.”
Well, we’ll take it! This year, we’re looking to grow our outreach programs to include more schools, students, and teachers! Know of a school district or mission-based organization that could benefit from our expressive writing programs? Then please reach out to Jennifer Chauhan at email@example.com.
There will also be A LOT of community celebrations, starting with our “Love Is …” Project this February. With all of our writing groups, we’ll ask participants to respond to the prompt “Love Is …” and then we’ll weave all of the lines into one giant collaborative LOVE poem. Stay tuned for a special event in early March, during which we will read the poem together!
AND we are going to be sharing the impact of our writing programs on our youth, teens, and adults. If you would like to participate, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story of how Project Write Now has impacted your life. We also welcome short video responses, as well.
As we evolve into double-digits, one thing remains the same: our commitment to building communities of hope and empathy through writing and sharing our stories.
Whether you’ve taken a class, signed your child up for a class, attended an event, or given a generous gift, YOU make these life-changing programs possible!
From all of us at PWN, THANK YOU!
With love & gratitude,
Asbury Park High School
- 12th Grade Dream Academy
We’ve expanded our program at APHS to include the 12th grade Dream Academy students. We are focusing on debunking the myth that academic writing can’t be creative. So, to find our voices as writers, we are starting with personal narratives and getting to the “untold story” inside us all. We’ve worked on “I am” and “I wish” poems as an entry point to finding our stories. Next, we’ll zero in on a moment in our lives and begin to work backward to create the story surrounding that moment. We are excited to be writing weekly with this group.
- 11th Grade Dream Academy
We returned to working with our 11th grade Dream Academy students, focusing on expressive writing to help us understand ourselves and our dreams a little better. We kicked off 2024 by focusing on the impact of small moments of kindness. We read Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Gate A-4” as inspiration and then wrote about a time we experienced kindness, gave kindness, or witnessed kindness. We loved the stories that emerged that we may ordinarily have not paid attention to.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
We closed out the month by hosting a storytelling workshop at Bayville Elementary School with the mentors and mentees of Big Brothers Big Sisters. This was our first time expanding our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters into Ocean County. During the workshop, the mentors and mentees connected through the art of storytelling, using “word” prompts as inspiration for stories that allow us to feel more connected to one another. We are looking forward to more BBBS storytelling workshops coming up.
More and more writers have been joining us each week in our Free Write sessions, a virtual dedicated space for writing accountability. Writers check-in with a goal and then use the rest of the time to work on their writing projects. It’s been a great way of staying on top of our goals and seeing our projects to completion. Join us for Free Write and make time for your writing!
On Fridays, we host a one-hour writing workshop on Zoom during which we write in response to themed prompts. This month, we explored the themes “Connect” and “Fog.” 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!
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Asbury Park)
We were excited to return to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel this month, this time to help facilitate after-school writing workshops with sixth and seventh grade students for ten weeks. So far, students have enjoyed writing about some of their favorite people, places, and things—including snow days!
Poetry & Plants (Asbury Park)
It was a rainy Sunday afternoon in a warm greenhouse filled with community when we hosted the one-year anniversary of Poetry & Plants. At this seasonal event, several of the people participating noted it was their first time sharing their writing/poetry in decades. Keep an eye out for our next Poetry & Plants, which will be held in April to kick off National Poetry Month!
Red Bank Middle School
- 7th & 8th Grade AVID (in-school)
This month with the 7th & 8th grade AVID students at Red Bank Middle School, we looked back at 2023 and wrote down all of the memories we wanted to hold onto, making a list of our 2023 accomplishments, big and small. Students shared stories about class trips, visits to other countries, and even times when they celebrated the successes of others, too. Then, we looked forward into 2024 and wrote about our 2024 predictions, what we’re looking forward to, advice to our future selves, and words of encouragement to keep us moving forward. We each took our favorite lines from the day to string together into this collaborative 8th grade poem titled “2024: Our Lock-In Year,” and this collaborative 7th grade poem titled “2024: Like Cheese.”
- 6th Grade AVID (in-school)
We worked with another cycle of 6th graders doing ekphrastic writing (writing inspired by art). We began by reading “Flying Back to England That First Time,” by Rose Lennard, and then looking at the art that inspired the poem: “Aerial II,” by Scott Wiggerman. We then made a list of all of the things that the art evoked from our own minds’ eyes and used that list to inspire our stories. Then we came back with art of our choosing to use as inspiration, following the same process. We loved hearing what their vivid imaginations came up with!
- 4th & 5th Grades AVID
We had the 4th and 5th grade AVID students thinking about how important their voices are and ways they can voice their opinions to make a difference in the world. We read the book, Say Something!, by Peter Reynolds, and discussed what we feel so strongly about that we want to shout it to the world. We used prompts such as “I imagine … I believe … I wish … I feel strongly …” to write about things that are important to us. Students wrote about bullying, homelessness, animal cruelty, inflation, how important recess is because it’s good exercise and social time with friends, and much more. Like Peter Reynolds says in his book, we all have a voice and we need to use it to make a difference in the world.
- PWN Quest Club (6th-8th Grades)
Our after-school PWN Quest Club is taking our writing on a journey asking questions leading us to all sorts of adventures, tales, and … quests! We decorated journals and our “Quest Club Box” as well as generated lots of questions to put inside the box. The perfect question was pulled from the box during our first session of the season: “Why do words exist?” This one really got the students thinking and they decided that words exist to communicate, explain things, and most importantly, because we can’t read minds. We’re looking forward to using things like art and play-doh to help the students’ stories come alive!
- PWN Writing Club (4th/5th Grades)
We have fun, exciting writing activities planned for this session with our after-school writing club at RBMS! The first class started with letter writing to introduce ourselves. The next couple of weeks we will work on some writing strategies like onomatopoeia and stretching a moment. These two strategies will help us with an upcoming project that will take place over the course of several classes. Stay tuned for more details!
PWN India (Adults)
We loved reconnecting with our adult journaling club in India. We used Jordan Jace’s “I Want” poem to generate a list of wants/wishes for 2024 and then we picked one and wrote about how we can make it come true! For our next session, we wrote in response to “This Morning, This First Poem,” by Afaa Michael Weaver, and loved how the poem spoke to each of us—reflecting on our homes, nature, and how writing “let’s the soul teach the world what it is to make the journey to the heart.”
Shore House (Long Branch)
With the writers of Shore House, we continued our work on our Lotus Project. This multi-dimensional undertaking speaks to the idea that despite having its origins in mud and muck, the lotus rises to float on top of the water, and is known as one of the most beautiful flowers. We understand the ways in which we are supported in our rising, specifically, in this particular dimension, with the love, nurturing, and influence of others. Our work this month involved drafting letters to the individuals who we identified as these change-makers, and spoke to the ways they cause us to feel cared for and/or empowered. We also wrote this collaborative poem called, “Today.”
Zoom Open Mic
We are so grateful to all who came to our first Zoom Open Mic of 2024 this month. Your stories and poems were so inspiring, we can’t stop talking about it! Join us to read your own work and support your fellow writing community in the next Zoom Open Mic on February 23!
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 awarded 48 seats totaling $17,205. For 2023, we have already provided 18 seats totaling $7,295. For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at email@example.com.