Changing the World, One Writer at a Time
Last Spring, Kelly Full Service Community School – a neighborhood public school in Holyoke – invited me to lead a writing workshop for fourth graders. Twice weekly, five students came to school early to write, share, and respond to each others’ stories. We made a lot of noise, and they gained a lot of confidence. When it came time to measure reading levels at the end of the school year, these students had progressed at three times the rate of their classmates.
This year, Main Street Writers serves as a community partner in the city-wide Early Literacy Initiative. I lead five writing groups with Kelly School students, both before and during the school day. I also run a Tuesday afternoon workshop for girls at the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club, three blocks away. These girls want to know all about the world around them, and they have something to say about everything. I can’t think of a better set of qualities for a writer.
It goes without saying that this work is hard on the heart. Holyoke has the lowest average income and the lowest literacy rate in the state. Poverty impacts children’s lives in every way. At the same time, all my writers want to learn, want to succeed. Each one is funny and sweet – and each one works hard every day.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a writing community to help a child learn that his or her stories matter. If you have written with me in a workshop, you have experienced the spirit of exploration and discovery that lies at the heart of Pat Schneider’s Amherst Writers and Artists method. I invite you to join me in extending this opportunity to children in Holyoke by supporting Main Street Writers outreach programs.
Any donation – large or small – makes a big difference. If you would like to contribute, please contact me here, or simply mail a donation to the address below…and know you are giving a child a unique and life-changing opportunity.
Thanks for listening,
Main Street Writers
664 Main Street, Suite 60
Amherst MA 01002
With a $10 donation, you’ll receive a business-card-sized magnet honoring your help with this work.
With a $25 donation, you’ll receive an instrument with which to “keep the pen moving.”
With a $50 donation, you’ll receive a Main Street Writers mug to help you to settle down and do what a writer’s got to do.
…And if you’d like to learn more about the writing programs, I’d be happy to talk with you.