Dear Friends of Project Write Now:
Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day of generosity and giving.
PWN is participating in this celebration, and we need your help.
This year, the demand for our community outreach programs has skyrocketed, as more and more people have realized the benefits of expressive writing to reverse the plague of anxiety and depression impacting our children.
Writing, even for short periods of time, has been proven to improve physical and emotional well being. It enables students to explore their thoughts and feelings, helping them gain insight into who they are and how they relate to the world around them.
When writers—young and old—share their stories, they feel more connected to one another, generating feelings of empathy, compassion, and hope.
That’s our mission in a nutshell! Cultivating empathy, compassion, and hope. Is there anything more essential in our world today?
Our students describe how PWN has changed their lives:
“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.”
“What I have learned is that writing is about being able to be yourself.”
Please join our mission today and help us continue to transform lives.
Here are ways you can support PWN:
– Make a one-time gift or monthly donation;
– Join our Partnership Program with gifts of $250 or more;
– Sign up for an adult class or sign your child up for a youth or teen class;
– Follow us on Instagram and Facebook.
Alliance for Success (Red Bank Regional High School)
This fall, we continued writing with students through AFS, a program that offers career and educational resources to high school juniors from Red Bank Regional High School. Our writing complemented AFS’s weekly topics, exploring themes of gratitude, connection, and perseverance. Students wrote about their strengths and interests, read poems such as “A House Called Tomorrow,” by Alberto Rios, and “Fifteen Strokes of Luck,” by Ellery Ackers, and used writing as a way to respond to the world around them. We are thrilled to share the benefits of journaling and to encourage these young adults to explore what is important to them as they set goals for their futures.
Asbury Park High School
This month, we continued helping students with their college essays. We are grateful that these students recognize that writing is a process and that revisions are necessary to write the best essay they can. We are excited to be a part of their college application journeys and look forward to hearing where they get accepted.
The Spoken Word Project
We also continued with generating writing during our Spoken Word Project. This session our focus is on our power and how we often get stuck in a loop of pain and confusion. By writing about our experiences, we create a way to rewrite our narratives and to find the strength we need to move forward. Next month, we will select pieces that we will then revise to share during our celebration on December 16. We also have a special guest coming on December 2—stay tuned!
At The Atrium this month, our fabulous writers continued exploring the unusual. They wrote in response to photos and also wrote to the prompt, “Tell of a time when you felt cheated and what you did about it.” We love how committed these writers are to their craft!
Our last two issues of Bridge Ink, our online young adult literary journal, have been Feature Issues! Issue 5.5 features interview stories written by teens who participated in The Interview Project during the summer of 2021. This project required teens to interview members of Shore House, a clubhouse for adults living with mental illness, and document the stories they want to preserve. Project Write Now has been working with Shore House for over five years, and we are so proud to have our teen writers share their stories.
In Issue 5.6, we are thrilled to announce the winners of our first-ever Off the Page Spoken Word Contest. We received submissions from all over the world, and the winners represent New Jersey, New York, California, and India! Please take a moment to watch these inspiring videos on themes of writing, family, and resilience.
Every Friday, we meet on Zoom for one hour to write in response to prompts on a designated theme. This month, we’ve explored the themes “Break,” “Bones,” and “Gratitude.” Though writers never have to share their work aloud, 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!
Red Bank Middle School
In-School Program: 8th Grade
With the 8th grade RBMS AVID students this month, we discussed the benefits of free writing and then spent some time practicing it. Then we moved into more writing—making lists of our qualities, passions, and goals—to begin drafting our personal statements to apply to the four-year academies at Red Bank Regional as well as other local application-based schools. During the following weeks, we came back to help students shape those statements as deadlines are fast approaching. We love the energy with this group and we are so proud of all the work they are already doing with us!
After-School Program: 4-5th Grades
We are having so much fun on Mondays with the 4th and 5th graders during our new after-school Writing Club at RBMS. We have been investigating different kinds of writing with these students. Recently, we wrote gratitude lists and began a great discussion on the importance of interviews—how they help us get to know one another and how they also make great prompts to get to know ourselves better!
After-School Program: 6-8th Grades
We began Quest Qlub this month, a PWN after-school program for 6-8th graders at RBMS. To start, we spent some time meditating to clear our heads, and then we moved into writing. We wrote about the burning questions inside of us, how it feels to ask those questions, and what we want from the answers. This group is all about the power behind question-asking, so we encouraged them to share some of their thoughts. We were thrilled that so many were willing to share on our first day! We’re still chewing on questions raised, such as: “Are dragons real?” “Who made the dinosaurs?” And “What’s under or deeper than space?” We love getting to know these brilliant writers and thinkers!
Red Bank Public Library
With the members of the RBPL, we wrote to the prompt, “Who are you at the Thanksgiving table?” This prompt was based on the article in The New York Times by Holly Burns, “Which Classic Thanksgiving Character Are You?” Then we dove deeper with Holly’s question at the end of her essay, What will I wish I had or hadn’t done?
Shore House (Long Branch)
We practiced gratitude with Shore House this month by reading “Slant,” by Suji Kwock Kim. We then made our own gratitude lists and pulled one item from our lists to write the bigger story that goes with it. One writer shared a piece about seeing her son while another wrote about how joyful he was just to be in our country (he’s originally from Russia). We then wrote letters of gratitude to people, places, things, even feelings. Many wrote letters to Shore House & PWN. We are so grateful to work with these incredible writers!
Teacher Writing Collaborative
We have been loving the poem “Fifteen Strokes of Luck,” by Ellery Akers, from the latest issue of The Sun. We read it with our teachers and then responded by taking a line from the poem or creating our own “Fifteen Strokes of Luck.” It was the perfect piece to respond to during this month of gratitude. We finish up this session of the TWC on December 9. Our next session begins January 20. All teachers are invited to join. Register here.
Teen Writing Group
We have a lot of new faces in this session of Teen Writing Group, and we love how quickly they’ve bonded through the writing and sharing of stories. We’re so proud of these teens for taking initiative each week, coming up with great ideas and encouraging each other to keep up their writing practices. Be sure to register for the next session of Teen Writing Group, starting January 20, to join our dynamic teen writing community!
The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County
One of our longest partnerships has been with the YMCA and we love how we get to help students each year with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest. Two winners receive $1,500 college scholarships and recognition at the 33rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration, which will be held virtually in January. On a recent Saturday morning, we Zoomed into a Teen Achievers session to guide students on how to write a powerful essay. Then we began brainstorming ideas, starting with lists. Several of these students have individually reached out for feedback on their essays. We are grateful for this partnership and look forward to seeing the final drafts of the essays.
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 63 adult and 21 youth/teen seats totaling $13,825. For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.