“I feel like this country doesn’t want to know about me or my life but that is why we are doing the magazine. So that we can give kids a voice. So that they know we care about them.”
-Word on the Street Online Magazine participant, 13 years old
During this heated time in our country, it’s so important that our youth, families, and communities feel empowered to share their voices, and I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of that work. This year, Asheville Writers in the Schools & Community launched Word on the Street, a bilingual online magazine run by teens of color so that youth locally and globally can share their perspectives through creative expression.
We also continued our Family Voices program, placing writers in classrooms to share literacy skills and build a creative classroom community, and inviting families to come together for food and creative writing in the evenings. The students and families then publish their stories, poems, and artwork in an anthology. When I see my students who have participated in the past, the first thing they usually tell me is, “I still have my book!”
“My hands are old, tight, closed, very hard to work with. Wrinkled, brown, long. They have been through a lot in life.”
-Writing and Artwork from Family Voices at Hall Fletcher Elementary, 2016
Next weekend, Asheville Writers inthe Schools & Community will be hosting the 4th Annual Mountain of Words Write-a-thon to support these programs and keep kids feeling that this country does want to know about their life and care about them. Here are some ways you can help:
- Sponsor me in the Write-a-thon! Next weekend, I will spend time writing as much as I can as a way to show my support for Asheville Writers in the Schools & Community… and for the sake of my own writing. Donations will help programs like Family Voices and Word on the Street to continue and grow. You can sponsor me here, or send a check to 347 Kenilworth Dr., Asheville, NC 28805 with my name in the memo line.
- Join us for the Write-a-thon this Saturday, November 19, 1-4 p.m. at Malaprop’s Bookstore. Bring your laptop or notebook, friends and family, and spend a couple of hours writing in community with some of our featured writers . We’ll have writing prompts for those that want them as well as some fun writing activities and favors for the kids. Plus, we’ll have an open mic for those that want to share.
- Volunteer with Asheville Writers in the Schools & Community. We recognize that our community has a great variety of knowledge and talents to offer, and there are all kinds of ways that your skills can contribute to what we do. Just click here and let us know in what ways you’re interested in helping out.
- Spread the word! Re-blogging, re-posting, and telling your friends are some of the easiest and biggest ways you can help.
We hugely appreciate any support you are able to give!