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