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 2024!
Expressive writing improves 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?
To see the impact of your gift, please view the photos below.
As you’ll see, this month the focus was writing about gratitude. In addition to creating collaborative poems with our students, we also did our PWN Gratitude Project. Using beautiful stationery and cards, students handwrote letters of gratitude to give to someone special in their lives (even themselves). Many students asked for more paper to write to even more people! We can’t wait to hear the responses from those who received these meaningful gifts of writing.
We are SO GRATEFUL for YOU! Whether you’ve taken a class, signed your child up for a class, participated in one of our events, or given a generous gift, YOU help provide meaningful writing experiences that foster authenticity, connection, and empathy.
With love & gratitude,
The Project Write Now Team
Asbury Park High School
- 12th Grade
The 12th grade Asbury Park High School students are building vision maps to lay out their future vision in 5 of 10 vision domains. They are using values as the road they will take to get there and affirmations as the signs of encouragement along the way. We used the song “Wake Up Everybody” to show lyrics that speak to the community domain and began a discussion about what the youth desire to see as positive change in the community and what values and affirmations they need to help them arrive at this bright and shining future.
- 11th Grade Dream Academy
We’ve continued our weekly expressive writing program with 11th graders in the Dream Academy. This month we spent a day reflecting on our dreams for ourselves, people we love, and the world. We used giant Post-It notes to collect our thoughts and then picked one to write more about. We also did the PWN Gratitude Project, writing a list of what we’re grateful for before selecting a person to handwrite a letter of gratitude to. We love how we can connect deeper to ourselves and others through writing.
- Spoken Word Project
Students participating in PWN’s Spoken Word Project at Asbury Park High School enjoyed participating in special theme days. On Election Day, the students got to vote on what they’d like to have more of in upcoming sessions and then they wrote about voting. On Winning Wednesday, everyone’s personal “wins” were written on Post-Its, added to the Winning Wall, and then celebrated. And during a Freestyle Friday session, students wrote rhymes and rapped the lyrics over an instrumental hip-hop beat.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
PWN’s partnership with Big Brother Big Sisters has expanded into Middlesex and Ocean counties. (Yay!) The first two workshops of the season are in new schools for us—Joyce Kilmer Elementary School in Milltown and Livingston Elementary School in New Brunswick. We’re excited to expand this partnership and look forward to many more workshops together in the coming months!
Bridge Ink 7.5
We’re so excited to release our latest issue of Bridge Ink—Volume 7, Issue 5! This issue features inspiring teen works from the Philippines (!!!), California, Washington, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New York, and of course New Jersey! Check it out now!
Finding the Words
November brought yet another opportunity for grieving hearts to gather around the table of the Women’s Club dining room in order to pay homage to the ways that we have been carrying our losses. Seven women arrived armed with journals, photographs, and stories to share, speaking their loved ones names aloud, leaning into the solace of community, and exploring topics such as writing grief spiels and letters to those they have lost. Join us for the next Finding The Words workshops held on Thursday, January 11, at 7 p.m. and Friday, January 12, at 9 a.m.
book inc writers and peer artist leaders Liz Jannuzzi and Lisa Hartsgrove wanted a place to help hold them accountable on their book projects between class sessions, so they created Free Write for the month of November. Free Write is one hour of dedicated writing time on Zoom where writers check-in with a goal and then use that time solely to work on their projects together. We have found it to be such a success that we’ve decided to keep it going after the month’s end! Join us for Free Write on select Tuesdays and Wednesdays going forward 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 “Book” and “Beans.” 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!
During the summer, we collaborated with STEAMpark and the Monmouth County Vocational School District to provide a four-week, full-day summer camp with more than 40 4th through 7th graders at Red Bank Middle School. On Saturday, October 18, we held our second school-year Meetup. It was so great to reconnect with our students for math, book club, and writing. For the writing portion, we did our PWN Gratitude Project, asking students to make a list of what they’re grateful for and then handwriting a letter of gratitude to someone special in our lives. We love how meaningful this experience was for the students, who picked out special paper and carefully crafted their thoughts and reflections. We look forward to seeing the students again next month!
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
We were so excited to be back at OLMC leading a storytelling workshop with the 5th grade class. After warming up in a circle playing a word association game, each student selected a card with a theme, such as Firsts, Summer, and Influence. They then brainstormed a list of words based on their selected theme before launching into writing a story. We loved seeing the sparks of creativity light up the room.
Poetry & Plants
We returned to the Kula Urban Farms in Asbury Park for the special fall edition of Poetry & Plants, which has become a quarterly, seasonal staple for us this year. MotMot Collective led a special herbal tea tasting, which inspired the prompt for a writing workshop portion, which was immediately followed by sharing and a very heartfelt open mic. We look forward to returning in the new year for the winter edition!
PWN India (Teachers)
For the past six weeks, PWN has been zooming with an incredible group of teachers in India! These teachers have been writing and sharing their hearts out and the sense of community has not gone unnoticed. Each week we come together for an hour of reflective, personal writing where we just think about ourselves. Yes, we put everyone and everything else aside so we can focus on US. We’ve written about things that make us happy, sad, angry, confused or just plain indifferent. We’ve written about the things we are grateful for in our lives. We’ve written letters to ourselves and to others. We’ve written to feel better, to relax, to understand, to unpack, to clarify, and to just plain breathe. Through our writing, we’ve gotten to know each other better, and although we are 7,300 miles apart, we feel like we’re in the same room. We shared photos of our families, our classrooms, and our homes. We’ve learned about the different customs and traditions in India and the US, and we even made plans to visit someday!
Red Bank Middle School
- 8th Grade AVID (in-school)
The 8th grade AVID class has been focusing on their RBR academy applications with us. We’ve been working hard on our personal statements to make sure they reflect who we are, our passions, and our dreams. We took pause mid-month for the PWN Gratitude Project, writing letters to loved ones while also creating this collaborative poem. We love the community vibe in this classroom and we are so proud of each student for dreaming big and doing the work they need to reach their goals. We’re grateful for RBMS!
- 7th Grade AVID (in-school)
We wrote about our names and did some free writing with the 7th grade AVID class. We also participated in the PWN Gratitude Project. For the free write session, we gave out prompts and ideas to those who asked for them, but everyone had the freedom to write whatever they wanted. For the name session, we told them they could write about their relationship with their own names or something else that they had named. We were blown away when they began sharing their words. One student wrote a poem about a girl who hides her true feelings away. Another shared a piece about nature. And another shared how they were named after a soccer player. For the gratitude project, we handwrote letters of gratitude to loved ones and created this collaborative poem. Every piece of writing was so authentic and we loved hearing what they had to say!
- PWN Quest Club (after-school)
We continued to meet after school for Quest Club on Monday afternoons. We focused on gratitude with various Q&A exercises, poems, and essays that allowed the students to think about the many things they are grateful for in their lives. The students also continued to share answers to anonymous questions that they place each week in a Question Box. We are so grateful for the enthusiastic participation of the 6th to 8th grade students!
Red Bank Public Library
With the writers at the Red Bank Public Library, we wrote about current events’ effect on our day-to-day, hour-to-hour lives using the prompts: How do you cope when you can’t read one more headline or glimpse one more CNN flash? Loss, desperation, and war can force us to see … Do you view things differently in light of the news? Or, maybe you have your own sorrow, loss, or fear right at home. If so, what’s going on? Where can you find the light? We read from Ross Gay’s Book of Delights and then wrote lists of our own, choosing one to elaborate on. We also read Alyssa Quinn’s essay “Naked” and wrote about a time we took a dare. It was a very meaningful month!
Red Bank Regional Outside the Box: Journaling & Art Club
We have teamed up with The Source at Red Bank Regional High School to offer Outside the Box: Journaling & Art Club. This program uses fun prompts to inspire writing and art. Each student gets an opportunity to get their thoughts out and down on the page, create a story or poem, or escape into their own imaginative world. This dedicated time and space allows students to write, reflect, and reconnect with what really matters to them. We love to encourage celebrating wins and accomplishments and did exactly that this month. We shared wins for the month. We then dove right into getting creative with fun fall-themed writing prompts. “Saying NO in Nooooovember” is how we closed our session this month. As a collective, we discussed our goals for November and agreed to circle back next session to see how we are doing!
Shore House (Long Branch)
Shore House workshop participants spent the month focused on food and maintaining a strong community of support. First, on November 9, we read Shel Silverstein’s “Sorry I Spilled It” and “Blueberries,” by Robert Frost, in order to set the stage for a collaborative poem about the components of a Thanksgiving Feast. Then on November 21, we gathered to contemplate the ways in which we can be glitter (sparkly, joy-filled, and having a lasting effect) to those around us by naming and honoring the gifts that we have to share with the world before writing inspirational precepts on Post-Its to adorn the walls of Shore House as a source of encouragement for those who find they could use some extra TLC. As always, we love the warmth and energy of Shore House!
Write Out Loud (Asbury Book Cooperative)
We had a wonderful time at the Asbury Book Cooperative for Write Out Loud. With twelve writers in attendance, we wrote about gratitude. One writer shared a story about her dog who was there for her when her father was dying. Another wrote a piece about a shared moment with two boys who were just as grateful for her as she was for them. And another shared about why forced gratitude doesn’t feel right, and where she finds authentic gratitude throughout her life. Each piece pulled at our heartstrings, and WE are so grateful for this community of writers! We ended by having each participant write one line down on a Post-It so we could weave their words together into this collaborative poem. Join us next month for Write Out Loud on December 12!
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’ve awarded 43 seats totaling $14,205 so far. For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at email@example.com.