Dear Friends of Project Write Now:
Because of YOU and your generosity with #GivingTuesday donations and PWN Partner gifts, we are nearly halfway to our goal of $50,000 to fund our community outreach programs in 2023!
Expressive writing has been proven to improve physical and emotional well-being.
It gives children essential tools not only to work through intense emotions but also to gain the insight and clarity needed to have a stronger sense of self.
And sharing stories generates compassion, empathy, and hope.
Is there anything more essential in our world today?
During the next few weeks, we will be sharing videos giving an “insider view” of our programs, so stay tuned!
Thank you so much!
The Project Write Now Team
Asbury Park High School
This month, we wrapped up the fall session of our Spoken Word Project with the creative writing class at Asbury Park High School. Each week, we’ve been generating writing on topics that are close to our hearts. We’ve also been taking lines from students and crafting them into collaborative poems. We will be back in January for our next session, which will culminate in a year-end anthology of student writing and a Writers Celebration.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County
We are excited to be working with Teens Take the Lead, a service learning project of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County. We are providing a journaling component to help participants explore their own unique stories. We will also be assisting in helping the students articulate their community service project to a wider audience. We look forward to seeing their project develop!
Bridge Ink 6.5
We are thrilled to release our newest issue of Bridge Ink—volume six, issue five! This issue holds incredible teen writing from Oregon, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. It also features a collaborative gratitude poem by the 7th grade AVID class at RBMS. Be inspired by our latest issue today!
Keansburg High School
It’s college essay season, and we recently provided our one-day college essay workshop to two groups of seniors at Keansburg High School. After giving students an overview of the college essay process, we did a writing activity to help them brainstorm ideas. We wish these students the best of luck with their college apps.
Lunch Break: Alliance for Success
Our fall visits to Lunch Break’s Alliance for Success program ended this month with a fun writing activity meant to foster self-awareness and reflection. We took the VIA Character Strengths Survey and learned about what the survey revealed about us. We laughed a lot as we shared our results and talked about which strengths we expected and which surprised us. Then we wrote about instances when we’ve called on our strengths. We look forward to working with this talented group again next year!
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—“Circular,” “Synchronicity,” and “Turkey.” 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!
PWN India (Adults)
Our fall session of our adult writing program in India concluded this past Tuesday. Each week, our group has been getting closer and closer as we’ve written in response to poems and shared our writing. Most recently, we wrote about gratitude in response to Alberto Rios’ “When Giving Is All We Have,” and kindness in response to Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Gate A-4.” We are taking a short break (which we are all so sad about) but will be back writing each week starting in January.
PWN India (Teachers)
Over the past six weeks, PWN has also had the privilege of working with teachers from India. Once a week, we’ve met for an hour, but the focus has not been on teaching … it has been on mindfulness and ways we, as busy teachers, can take time for ourselves and write for us. Of course, everything we learned and wrote for ourselves can easily be brought into the classroom to our students, but it was nice to take time out of our busy day to focus on ourselves. As one of the teachers commented on our last session: “This opportunity made us realize that we have important moments in our lives and it was fun to be able to write and share about these moments in our sessions together.”
Red Bank Middle School
– 4th & 5th Grade
We worked with our second round of 4th and 5th grade students in the AVID elective. We wrote mini “I Remember” books, inspired by the technique of “automatic writing” and Joe Brainard’s memoir, I Remember. We began by brainstorming memories from holidays, trips, birthdays, first times, special people and places, school, hobbies, and sports. Then the students were free to do this “automatic writing” exercise on their own. The only “rule” was they had to write their own memories, beginning each one with “I remember … ” The students were encouraged to allow their minds to explore all of the years of their life in no particular order. The results were amazing!
– 6th Grade
We did ekphrastic writing with our second round of 6th grade AVID students at RBMS this month. We began by reading “Fibers” by Ashley Caspermeyer, and then we looked to the art that inspired the poem—“Take Heart” by Bonnie Riedinger. Looking at the art, we began making an idea board for our own works—creating a list of what we saw and felt. We loved that students added more than just images to the list—naming memories and feelings the art evoked as well. After we had our ideas down, we were off to use our creativity to shape our thoughts into stories. The range of imagination that was shared was incredible—from fantastical stories about tsunamis and monsters to touching family memories. We can’t wait to come back to see what else they come up with next!
– 7th Grade
With the 7th grade RBMS AVID students this month, we read “Per aspera ad astra” by Huascar Medina and took starting lines from the poem to use as our own—”We were lost … I’ve admired … Magic … I’ve always felt … And I was exactly where …” We loved the unique direction each student took, some writing a new story for each line and some linking all of the lines together into a bigger narrative. We also read “When Giving Is All We Have” by Alberto Ríos and made gratitude lists. From their lists, we took one line and isolated it on a Post-It note to collect into one big collaborative gratitude piece. Read the complete collaborative poem here.
– 8th Grade
With the 8th grade RBMS AVID students this month, we read “November 2: Día de los muertos” by Alberto Ríos and talked about the Day of the Dead. We also read “When Giving Is All We Have” by Alberto Ríos and worked on personal statements for RBR Academy applications. (We’re so proud of their hard work!)
– After-School Writing Club: 4th & 5th
In our after-school PWN Writing Club for 4th and 5th graders, each student brought their own unique experiences and creativity to the group. It was great to see even the most apprehensive students come out of their shells to participate by sharing their stories. One of the fun activities included the students collaborating by writing a story in a “write around.” Each participant got to add a sentence to the story as it went around our seated circle. The students learned to stretch a moment by using many details to slow down time when writing. The activity that the students really blossomed with was using onomatopoeia words! Some of the students even used the onomatopoeia words to begin their stories and grab the reader’s attention right away! We are so proud of the wonderful work from the students and look forward to seeing them again in the future.
– After-School Writing Club: Quest Club (6th-8th)
In our after-school PWN Quest Club, we start off each week by having a check-in either by rating our day, sharing a win or celebration, or having fun with an art dump. An art dump is our mindfulness moment—this gives our writers an opportunity to come into Quest Club after their school day to draw, color, write, and incorporate a picture with their thoughts as self-care. We understand that writing, at times, may need inspiration, so we have incorporated art into all of our sessions. We also pull a question asked by our writers from our decorated Quest Club box each week to use as a writing prompt. We’ve created our own superheros, written affirmations, made up magical journeys, written about dinosaurs and the meteor, friendships and having best friends, funny tales with our siblings, and we’ve expressed gratitude. We are enjoying the quest of writing and the ride it takes us on while having fun!
Red Bank Public Library
This month with the writers of the Red Bank Public Library, we journaled about what we hoped to accomplish before the close of the year. We read Antonio Clark’s piece, “Excuses I Have Already Used.” Then our conversation focused on going through closets and keepsakes. We also read an essay from Beth Ann Fennelly’s micro memoir, Heating and Cooling, called “Expiration Date.” And we wrote about acts of kindness that we’ve witnessed recently, and about how Covid has changed us. Then we discussed what we will carry forward: resiliency, hope, the ability to pivot, pleasure in small moments, and permission to slow down.
Shore House (Long Branch)
We had very meaningful classes at Shore House this month. We read “I Am” by Ava Schicke, which opened deep discussions around our identities and how they shift as we age. And then we took starting lines from the poem to inspire our own works. Every person in the room wrote something about their hope for world peace! Then we read “When Giving Is All We Have” by Alberto Ríos and made gratitude lists. We were sure to include people, animals, places, things, activities, food, media, and most importantly, qualities about ourselves to our lists. We were especially grateful for the vulnerability in the room when one member dared to write about how gratitude can also be difficult sometimes. A lot of meaningful conversations were opened because of the member’s honesty, and that’s what makes the writing we do so important. We always love being at Shore House!
Teacher Writing Collaborative
Due to the school holidays, we were only able to meet one time this month but it was a powerful session as we wrote in response to Albero Rios’ poem “When Giving Is All We Have.” (Can you tell how much PWN loves this poem?). We each took our favorite line and wrote off of it. We all agreed how grateful we are for this group. Our next TWC session begins January 19. All teachers are welcome and you can join anytime. Register here.
Teen Writing Group
It’s always such a pleasure to see our teen writers in action in our Teen Writing Group. Each week they lead each other into deep literary discussions and support one another as they write and share fresh material. They’ve even encouraged each other to submit to different literary magazines, including Bridge Ink, where you can now see some of their works in our latest issue! We’re so proud of our teen writers. Join our next session of Teen Writing Group, which begins January 19, today!
Write Out Loud
We had a small but mighty group at our November Write Out Loud event. Thank you to all who came and shared their work with us as well as the Asbury Book Cooperative for partnering with us and always providing such an inspiring space. We hope you join us for our next WOL event, the last one of 2022, on Tuesday, December 13!
Zoom Open Mic
We’re so grateful to all who came to our November Zoom Open Mic. We love the eclectic range of voices shared and how many of you come just to support one another. Our favorite part of our Zoom Open Mics is when the Zoom chat explodes with favorite lines—which happens Every. Single. Time. We love our supportive writing community!
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’ve 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.