We love October because it’s the month our community outreach programs with our partner schools begin. We are thrilled to be back IN PERSON with the 8th grade AVID students at Red Bank Middle School, and we kicked off our first day getting to know the students by sharing letters from our instructors and then asking them to write letters back. Plans are also underway for a new after-school program for 6th-8th graders and 4th-5th graders beginning November 8.
We also started our programs at Asbury Park High School. We’ve been working with 12th graders on their college essays, and we launched our Spoken Word Project in partnership with KYDS with the Public Speaking class. Already students are opening up about what inspires them and sharing what they would like to explore in their writing.
For us, it’s about giving students a safe, supportive environment to explore their authentic stories so they can express who they are and what they care about, generating deeper connection and empathy.
While we are happy to be back in person with many of our community outreach partners, we have decided to keep our studio programs virtual through spring 2022. Therefore, we are closing our studio space in Red Bank for now with the goal of finding a new space when we are able to return in person.
We are so grateful to our landlord, Metrovation, for all of their support throughout the years. 25 Bridge was the perfect spot to launch Project Write Now seven years ago, and we would not be where we are today without that space and the generosity of Chris Cole and his team.
We’re hopeful and trust that when the time comes we will find another wonderful studio space just as perfect for the next stage in our journey, well-suited for our hybrid in-person and virtual future.
Our new mailing address going forward is 68 White Street, Suite 7-371, Red Bank, NJ 07701. You can still reach us at 908.675.0467.
Alliance for Success (Red Bank Regional High School)
The fall session of the Alliance for Success program at RBR, in partnership with Lunch Break, kicked off this month. AFS is a two-year mentorship program offering guidance and support on topics such as financial literacy and college and career readiness. PWN is providing a journaling component that gives the participating 11th graders dedicated time and space to reflect on who they are and what’s important to them. They also write in response to the life skills workshops they participate in. We are grateful to be included in this incredible program!
Asbury Park High School
Fall is college essay season, and we began in late September working with a class of 12th graders, helping guide them through the college essay writing process. After spending time giving an overview of how to approach the college essay, our instructors have been working one-on-one with students, giving feedback on how to best show in a narrative essay who they are and what they care about. We will continue working with students throughout the year not only on their college application essays but also on scholarship essays.
The Spoken Word Project
On October 21, we once again launched our Spoken Word Project with the Public Speaking class. This project was developed last year in partnership with KYDS. On the first day, spoken word artists Krysta Elora, Mychal Mills, and Jean Enelus performed for the students. (Jean was a student in the program last year and we are thrilled to bring him back as an instructor!). After looking at what inspires us as artists, we focused the next class on the theme of “caring”—exploring how we use “I don’t care” as a defense mechanism, why we say we don’t care when we actually do, and ways we take care of ourselves and others. These reflective prompts help generate writing that forms the foundation of what we want to shape into our final pieces to perform. Already students are speaking from their hearts!
This month with the writers of The Atrium, we used a variety of prompts to tap into memories and reflect on moments in our lives. We shared stories about times when we did something we didn’t want to do and were surprised by the outcome. We wrote about what inspires compassion in us today. Some wrote about global warming, memories of homes they cherished, dear animal friends, and the loss of loved ones. We realized that overall, family love was the theme. We love how the writers dive deep, crafting scenes with such intimate details.
Red Bank Middle School
We are thrilled to be back in person with the 8th grade RBMS AVID students each week! It was clear from the moment we came in that these students are eager to write and share their thoughts and feelings, and we are so grateful to be able to give them that space and support. On our first day back, we wrote letters to the students introducing ourselves, and then we invited the students to write us letters in return. They could tell us anything they thought we should know—from their favorite animal to their deepest fear. On our second day, we continued our introspective writing by responding to the prompts: “I am …” “I feel the most like me when …” “I am most grateful for …” “One day I hope to …” and “I dream of …” We love how open these students are with us already, and we are so excited to continue getting to know them each week!
Red Bank Public Library
This month with the Red Bank Public Library, we had our virtual guided journaling class where we wrote to the prompt, “I am from …” This led to a lively discussion about vulnerability and the need for connection. We wrote about compassion and we made lists of what we care about (creativity, vulnerability, caring for the earth, the elderly and animals, and nurturing gardens) and then we chose one item off of our lists to freewrite from. We talked openly about the need to write and to utilize our creativity as a valuable tool for fostering balanced mental health.
Red Bank Regional High School
We were honored to be invited to provide a writing workshop for the Visual Arts Academy’s Articulation & Workshop Day on October 29. This event was open to middle school English and writing teachers to learn more about the Creative Writing Major. We had so much fun writing with the teachers and guiding them to write flash memoir pieces inspired by Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Gate A-4” and the excerpt “Tomato on Board,” from Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights. It was the perfect way to spend a late October Friday morning!
Every Friday, we meet on Zoom for one hour to write in response to prompts on a designated theme. This month, we’ve explored these themes: “Song,” “Skeleton,” “Grave,” and “Cats” (for National Cat Day on October 29). 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!
Shore House (Long Branch)
We used Halloween to inspire us this month at Shore House by writing scary stories! First, we defined what we thought “witches” were in our own words, then we wrote from our witch perspectives, making potions and casting spells. Then, we created detailed monsters by asking ourselves questions like: What does your monster look like? Smell like? Sound like? What does your monster want the most? What makes it happy? What makes it angry? We wrote scenes for our monsters and shared our spooky stories around a construction paper “campfire.” We had so much fun celebrating the season with the Shore House writers!
Teen Writing Group
Teen Writing Group took a new direction this session, as our teen leaders invited students to come up with their own prompts and take turns leading the group into new ideas. We love how the teens have risen to this challenge, showing their leadership skills and writing passions. The teens have brought in an eclectic bunch of prompt topics, ranging from writing about their favorite movies, to letters to their emotions, to horror stories for Halloween, and more. We’re so proud of these teens for taking initiative each week, being brave in the sharing of their work, and keeping a safe, supportive environment as they encourage each other and grow. Be sure to join us for the next session of Teen Writing Group, starting November 4!
Teacher Writing Collaborative
This month with our TWC, we checked in about how our school years are going so far. The general consensus is that it is so wonderful to be back in person with the students—seeing their faces, hearing their voices, feeling their energy! Then we wrote in response to poems. We were excited to welcome new members to the group, as well. Our next Teacher Writing Collaborative session will be Thursday, November 18, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. ET. New members welcome! Please join here.
Zoom Open Mic
Our Zoom Open Mic brought a small but powerful crowd this month. Seven readers came to share their stories and poems, with topics ranging from nature appreciation to thriller stories to poems of deep introspection and identity. We are so grateful to all who came and shared. Be sure to join us for the next Zoom Open Mic on December 3!
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 59 adult and 18 youth/teen seats totaling $13,450. For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.