Teaching girls about creative, personal writing isn’t always the first priority for under-resourced educators working in struggling public schools. Which is why the nonprofit Mighty Writers (mightywriters.org)—a Philadelphia-based afterschool program powered by passionate volunteers—is such a valuable resource. Their free classes teach kids not only how to really write, express their own thoughts in their own voices, and love doing it, but they also expose students to inspiring writers like Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Maxine Hong Kingston, and more, along the way.
Mighty Writers’ “Girl Power Series” of classes is one of the most popular recurring offerings within their catalogue of 250 annual courses. These workshops began in 2009 and include “Girl Power Poetry,” “Girl Power Voices,” and “Girl Power Theater,” to name a few. Education Director Rachel Loeper, who oversees Mighty Writers’ programming, says Girl Power Theater is one of their most tried and true courses. “The girls imagine an alter ego that is their own personality taken to some extreme,” she says. “They then create characters and really embody them through theater. We like to think that over time, they’re internalizing some positive ideas about themselves that maybe started small, but in the process of acting them out in a big way, they grow.”
Workshop topics are driven and curated by volunteers, with help from the Mighty Writers staff, resulting in programming that is really by and for the community. “We talk to [students and volunteers] about their interests, their favorite authors, things that are fun and exciting for them to talk about that relate to writing,” says Loeper. “A lot of volunteers say the Girl Power workshops really resonate with them. They love getting girls connected to other girls who are just as powerful as they are.”
By Rachel Withers
This article originally appeared in the Aug/Sept 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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