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10 Years Deep
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Beyond Words has already won TWO book awards!
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Keren with 2nd year mentee, Edna

It has been ten years since I founded the nonprofit WriteGirl, and now, all these years later, I am lifted by the evidence of all our efforts. We sent 26 girls on to college this fall, several on full scholarships! We're starting to reconnect with many of our former members, on Facebook, and it's amazing to hear their stories of what they have been learning and discovering in the years since they were involved with WriteGirl. A few are coming back to intern with us, and this weekend, we have eleven alums coming to our event!

This Saturday, at Borders in Hollywood (2pm!), we are celebrating the launch of our new anthology, "Beyond Words: The Creative Voice of WriteGirl." It's already won two book awards, so now our total, collectively, for all our books, is 28 national and international awards. (I joke that our anthologies are the most acclaimed books you've never heard of.....yet.) Our teen girls are going to read brief excerpts, and we have some fantastic special guests coming to perform also: actor Marcia Wallace (The Simpsons), actor Mimi Kennedy (In the Loop and Dharma and Greg) and authors Cecil Castellucci (Rose Sees Red) and Margaret B. Stohl & Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures).

I've learned so much as a nonprofit leader in the last 10 years. Such as....Never give up. Know that you don't know all aspects of a situation, and you may never know. Assume that people are generous and kind, and help them nurture those qualities in themselves. Lead by example - be the change. Be yourself - every leader is unique. Be open and talk through conflict until you reach peace. Seek solutions, don't dwell on criticism. Consider how different every single person is, and set aside expectations to allow yourself to really see and understand each person's unique perspective and abilities. Set goals that are slightly out of reach. Accept change. Accept rejection. Accept success. Take time to be in nature, and unplug from all electrical devices! Wind, water, trees, animals, snow, sun and rocks all inspire me to see how complex and interconnected things are. It helps me recharge, to spend time in the desert or in the forest.

 I look forward to the next 10 years with this growing, eclectic and creative community of women and girls. It's exciting to know that there is more ahead, and I plan to be fully present to enjoy all of it!

 And if you are a woman writer, please consider joining us in mentoring teen girls! www.writegirl.org

-Keren Taylor

 

 

 

Comments
6 Comment count
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I began today noting

I began today noting somewhere (the New York Times?) that today, in 1915, Congress had voted no to give women the vote. I am about to head off to bed and the last thing I read was your blog about your 10-year old non-profit sending 26 girls to college this year. Twenty-six girls to college! That is ... beautiful.

LPB

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Thanks

Thanks for the comment. I hope we BOTH sleep well tonight, thinking of the positive progress that has been made since 1915!

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Keren. Your comments really

Keren.

Your comments really hit home with me--they mirror my own beliefs.

I taught in public schools in Chicago and Phoenix for 9 years and now teach English and speech at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. Every term I open with a story about my first class of students in Chicago. In one of the city's most violent neighborhoods I asked my students to use their pens to tell me what they thought about their world. One young lady said, "No one cares what we think." I remember pausing for a quick moment before responding, "I do." I told her that I had a lot to learn from them and that they had a lot to teach me. They were skeptical at first, but they wrote. And I learned. I still do.

What young people who grow up in adverse circumstances often don't realize is that their perspectives are not only valuable, but critical to creating a better society. Their ability to communicate their view is a bridge between classes and cultures; it can open minds and doors. My experience has been, at times, overwhelming. It has been a gift to see students find their voice and blossom.

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read your words about nurturing and recognizing each person's unique perspectives and abilities. WriteGirl sounds amazing. Thank you for creating this organization and sharing your experience.

Sara

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Teen girls

Thanks, Sara. That girl in Chicago sounds so much like many of the girls we work with in Compton or Lynwood. At first, they are just closed or resistent, and with consistent encouragement and caring, their voices emerge. And once they get started, boy do they have stories to tell!

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Keren, a wonderful idea ...

... everyone has a need to be acknowledged, and you are making it possible for girls.

All girls, old and young, thank you.

Barb

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Great Idea

Karen,

WriteGirl is one of those great ideas that grows wings and flies. What an amazing project.

Jules