This month, we celebrated PWN’s 2020-2021 Teen Fellows: Alexandra Lewis, Sophia Weiss-Goldner, and Nyla Winning. During the virtual celebration, each fellow shared the impact of their yearlong experience—how they were nurtured, challenged, and encouraged to stretch as writers, artists, and human beings by their respective PWN mentors. The fellows then read select pieces from their projects. Each of the fellows have grown tremendously and not only consider themselves writers but also treat themselves as such. They have done the work when they didn’t feel like it or when life got in the way, and they have shown themselves that the work is where the satisfaction lies.
Says Sophia: “When I first started the fellowship I was overly ambitious and had ideas flying all around my head. Laura helped ground me. With her assistance, I was able to organize my ideas and set more realistic goals for myself. After working with her, I was able to create a collection of my poetry. Whenever I was on Zoom with Laura, I felt at peace and was eager to gain her writing knowledge and insight. By the end of the Fellowship, I can safely say Laura is not just my mentor, but now a friend.”
We are so grateful to these fellows for inspiring us with their hard work, passion, and dedication and to their mentors—Allison Tevald, Laura Cyphers, and Jennifer Gaites—for guiding them and building such authentic relationships.
We are currently accepting applications for teen fellows for the 2021-2022 school year. The program is open to motivated rising seniors with a desire to learn, grow, and focus on building a collection of writing. The fellowship is a 24-session program that runs from October 2021 to June 2022. Selected fellows will work one-on-one with an adult Project Write Now community member. The student and their mentor will design an ambitious school-year-long program geared to the specific interests and goals of the fellow.
Past fellows have blossomed as individuals, winning nationally recognized writing awards, contracting with publishing agents, and finding their passion alongside or coinciding with their career path.
This program is donor-supported so there is no cost to the teen fellow.
For more information on the program, email program director Allison Tevald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bridge Ink 5.3
Check out our latest issue of Bridge Ink, featuring the work of teen writers from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio, Florida, and Colorado, as well as artwork from a teen artist in California! This issue is sure to inspire you and pull at your heartstrings. We’re so proud of these teen writers and thrilled to share their talents with you!
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. For Pride this month, we’ve explored themes on “change,” “spectrum,” “freedom,” and “different.” Our writers were thrilled to celebrate Pride in their writing, though of course every prompt is always open-ended for writers to respond their own way. No matter what you plan to do with the writing you generate with us, we always enjoy hearing one another’s pieces and have formed an incredible, supportive community of writers. Lunchtime Write-In will resume July 16. Join us for our next Lunchtime Write-In to discover what our upcoming themes will be!
Shore House (Long Branch)
We celebrated Pride with our Shore House writers on Zoom on June 10 and in person on June 24. For our virtual day, we read “i love you to the moon &” by Chen Chen, and then we wrote about love in our own experiences and what pride means to us. For our in-person day, we read “The moon rose over the bay. I had a lot of feelings.” by Donika Kelly, and then we had a write-a-thon using key phrases from the poem to guide us: “I am,” “Today,” “I imagine,” and “I shout.” We ended with a write-around where each member wrote one sentence on a page then passed to the next person to add another sentence until a collaborative story emerged. Lots of imagination, creativity, introspection, and laughter were shared!
Teacher Writing Collaborative
We spent our last class of our spring Teacher Writing Collaborative writing in response to artwork, specifically the art exhibit at the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council that featured artwork from students on the theme of COVID-19. The Teacher Writing Collaborative will resume in the fall. In the meantime, we are offering a writing class just for teachers (Tuesdays, 7 to 9 pm.). The class is currently full but email email@example.com to be put on a wait list.
Teen Writing Group
Spring Session II of Teen Writing Group came to a close early this month, and this was a bittersweet goodbye for our teen writers. Current teen leaders Nyla and Sophia are handing over their pens as they plan to go off to college, so our last class was both a send-off to them and a welcome to our next leader, Alex. We are so grateful to Nyla and Sophia for their sharing their passions and talents with the group, and for their commitment to sustaining our safe, supportive teen writing community. We cannot wait to see what creative ideas Alex will bring for our upcoming summer session! Interested? Join us for Teen Writing Group, which begins again on July 15!
“Womyn’s Worth” at Lunch Break
Womyn’s Worth this month read the Buddhist Parable of “The Mustard Seed,” a story about grief, loss, and heartache. The protagonist’s child died and the mom seeks out the Buddha hoping for a miracle to bring her son back. He tells her to bring back a mustard seed from the house, which has not experienced loss. Of course she comes back to the Buddha with the knowledge that sorrow is universal to all, as is mortality. Great discussion ensued about COVID and the many losses common to all.
Zoom Open Mic
We had almost 20 writers in attendance for Zoom Open Mic this month! Though most were from the New Jersey area, we’re grateful that due to the virtual nature of this event we also had readers call in from Florida, Virginia, and Nevada! Pieces shared spanned all genres—poetry, fiction, memoir, etc.—and covered the emotional spectrum, as well. Listening was like being on the most exciting roller coaster ride! Join us for our next Zoom Open Mic on July 16 to experience that magic that only exists when a writing community comes together.
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. In 2020, we provided 48 adult and 28 youth/teen seats totaling nearly $15,000 in scholarships. Since January 2021, we have provided 33 adult and 13 youth/teen seats totaling $7,440. For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.