We are a powerhouse of voices that have been ignored or silenced for too long. We are a pipeline of talent into schools and industries in need of different perspectives. As a community, we follow our hearts and—through bold, authentic storytelling—inspire people to open theirs.
WE ARE GIRLS WRITE NOW.
25 Years of Transformative Stories
For 25 years, Girls Write Now has been breaking down barriers of gender, race, age and poverty to mentor the next generation of writers and leaders who are impacting businesses, shaping culture and creating change. Thank you for joining our movement.
As a mentoring organization, Girls Write Now models action that ensures equity and wellness for our diverse community—elevating voices now and for generations to come.
When our young writers share their stories, they have the power to change minds, heal communities and impact the world.
multi-genre, multimedia curriculum for today’s world
community & relationships are at the center of all we do
activism embedded into our mission from the start
a healing-focused approach to learning in brave spaces
Meeting the Need for Diverse Perspectives
Girls Write Now serves a culturally and educationally diverse community of girls and gender-expansive youth (mentees)—90% of color, 90% high need, 75% immigrant or first generation and 25% LGBTQ+/gender-expansive.
These teens, who have long been systemically deprived resources and opportunities in public schools, face significant challenges to educational and professional success. Unfortunately, in our city and our country, girls and gender-expansive teens of color are rarely given the guidance, care and support they need to gain confidence in their talents and accomplishments, graduate from high school and access viable college or career opportunities, perpetuating cycles of poverty and disempowerment.
Girls Write Now is uniquely positioned to help correct these longstanding inequalities.
Girls Write Now consistently demonstrates that our approach is effective in increasing the rate of success experienced by young women and gender-expansive youth who face systemic inequality and injustice.
Social Emotional Learning
100% of mentees experience an increase in positive identity—while gaining a mentor for life to help keep that confidence.
Mentees publish in the New York Times, Teen Vogue & Buzzfeed, among other outlets.
Contests, Scholarships & Awards
Mentees win hundreds of honors and financial support for college.
100% of our seniors go to college.
Job & Internship Placements
We place mentees at companies in publishing, entertainment, media, technology & more.
Social Emotional Learning
Girls Write Now writing and mentoring programs are rooted in social-emotional learning. Research shows that when young people succeed in these capacities, they also achieve long-term outcomes such as improved academic performance and decreased negative risk-taking behaviors.
A Track Record of Success
Girls Write Now is proud to have been honored…
2x by the White House as one of the nation’s top youth programs
2x by the Nonprofit Excellence Awards as one of New York’s top 10 nonprofits for management
By Youth INC for Youth Innovation
By Melinda Gates’ The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health
As a Diane von Furstenberg People’s Voice Nominee
By NBCUniversal’s 21st Century Solutions for Social Innovation
A POWERHOUSE OF VOICES.
A CHAMPION OF DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES.
A PIPELINE OF TALENT.
This is Girls Write Now.
Meet Our Team
Meet the Girls Write Now Staff
Sam (she/her/hers) is a Chicana writer and youth worker from the Chicagoland-area. She has spent the past seven years working within nonprofit spaces and community centers in Madison, WI and NYC. Sam received her B.A. in English-Creative Writing as a proud member of the 8th Cohort of First Wave — a Hip-Hop and urban arts full-tuition scholarship program at UW-Madison, centering the pursuit of higher education with arts, academics, and activism. Sam is a poet with roots in the world of spoken word poetry and slam, a background which has carried over in coaching young spoken word artists to compete in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival in 2017 and 2018. Most recently, Sam has been working with Writopia Lab as a private tutor, workshop instructor, and even went to camp for the first time since she was 10 this past summer. Sam’s poetry has been published in Pinwheel Journal (2018) and Cutthroat Journal: Contemporary Chicanx Writers Anthology (2020). Sam lives in Queens with her human and plant roommates, editing both her own and fellow writers’ work with dark roast coffee in her mug (and maybe some non-dairy creamer and honey).
Terence joins the Girls Write Now team with 20 years of experience in Development in the nonprofit arts and culture sector of New York City. He has stewarded grant portfolios for a range of arts organizations—theatre, dance, music, museums—and arts & culture education initiatives. He is a transgender male and a creative writer, playwright, arts critic, storyteller, occasional performer and experimental scribe. He has written many trans- and queer-themed plays and short fiction. His short story, “Tomboy of the Western World,” appeared in the Lambda Award–winning anthology, “The Collection” (Topside Press). His debut, a full-length work of experimental narrative, BIG PINK MEAT, was released in Fall 2019. A pandemic-delayed book tour is in the works to trans/GNC spaces around the country.
Senior Community Manager
Ariah Dow joins Girls Write Now after graduating with her Masters of Public Administration specializing in Management and Leadership for Public and Nonprofit Organizations from New York University. She is excited to apply her coursework to a cause she is extremely passionate about. Ariah worked as an administrator at New York University and with high school students prior. She feels fortunate to combine her work and educational experience to serve Girls Write Now constituents.
Special Initiatives Assistant
Spencer George is a Writer and Teaching Artist based in North Carolina. Her work focuses on the intersection of storytelling, folklore, and empathy in the rural south, with a particular focus on the Appalachian region of North Carolina her family hails from. She has writing published and forthcoming in The Bitter Southerner, The Adroit Journal, Medium, and Girlology, among others. Spencer is the creator and writer of GOOD FOLK, a weekly newsletter about people and stories. Currently, she serves as an ArtistYear Senior Fellow in Creative Writing and a staff member at Girls Write Now, and has previously been an intern for the StoryCorps Mobile Tour, a student researcher on the SIT International Honors Program in Human Rights, and a yoga instructor at a boys summer camp in Canada. Spencer was the 2019 recipient of the Peter S. Prescott Prize for Prose Writing, and is at work on a re-imagined Southern Gothic novel about queer love and the radical power of hope. She is most often found drinking coffee, wandering the woods, or trying to find ways to get her students to finally think she’s cool.
Senior Development Manager
Gabriella Gomez is a passionate philanthropy professional experienced in corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and nonprofit development. As a first-generation Latina, Gabriella believes we have the collective imagination and power to redesign philanthropy to center the people we serve. In particular, she advocates for deep, inclusive collaboration that listens to and follows the leadership of those who directly experience the pain points of inequities. Gabriella holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and an MBA in Global Business Management from Kean University. Prior to joining Girls write Now, Gabriella served as the Development Manager to Homefirst Interfaith Housing and United Way of Great Union County. In these roles, she leveraged her expertise in resource development, strategic planning, grant writing, and major gifts solicitation to advance social impact. Gabriella is motivated by what is possible when bringing together the power of the collective to create sustainable change in communities, through an intersectional lens. She continues to be inspired by the evolution and growth of organizations and individuals she has been privileged to work alongside.
Dacia Green is a multimedia artist, performer, and child of the African diaspora. As a recent graduate of Williams College with a B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies and Africana Studies, Dacia believes in the transformative powers of storytelling. At Williams, they produced a WGSS Honors Thesis in the form of an audio-visual zine entitled “Our Home Will Be Underwater By 2040”, a film that queries conceptions of homeland, queer archival, and Black resistance within the South Floridian landscape. They come to Girls Write Now eager to expand their interests, passions, and admiration for the next generation of activist leaders.
Senior Marketing Manager
Born and raised in California, Zody Huynh is a first-generation Vietnamese-American whose parents left Vietnam as refugees following the war. With strong values in public service, inclusivity, and equality, she spent much of her life advocating for vulnerable communities, whether academically or professionally. Zody holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and Political Science from the University of California, Irvine. Years later, she went on to earn her Masters in Sociology and Global Change at the University of Edinburgh, where she specialized in studying refugees and internally displaced persons. Previously, Zody served as Global Communications Manager for AIP Foundation where she led the organization’s global branding and strategy efforts. Having built a strong, well-balanced background in law, advocacy, copywriting, and marketing, she is eager to make a positive, sustainable impact at Girls Write Now to serve and empower underserved women and youth.
Vahni Kurra (she/hers) hails from disparate parts of the American Midwest with roots in Southern India. She recently earned a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Kenyon College, where she co-edited Hika, Kenyon’s oldest, student-run literary magazine. Vahni’s work centers on themes of displacement, and her personal essay, “Banana Republic,” was published in Oyster River Pages. She is currently the book review editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection. Vahni has always been a strong advocate for the rights of women and GNC folks, as she has interned for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and helped facilitate a peer support program for Kenyon students impacted by sexual assault. Vahni is excited to blend her passions for gender equality and creative writing as she works with Girls Write Now to ensure that all high school students have the same opportunities that she did to pursue their artistic and personal dreams.
Development & Operations Manager
Kelsey LePage comes to Girls Write Now with great experience from administration and fundraising to developing curriculum and teaching youth. She has worked in creative, educational, and humanitarian settings serving local communities — at YMCA, Playworks, and most recently in sales and event management at NY Kids Club. Originally from New Hampshire, Kelsey enjoys hiking, kayaking and would be perfectly happy getting lost in a museum or library for a day. She is excited to be starting a new life in a new city and to be sharing her passions with the Girls Write Now team.
Director of Special Initiatives
Molly MacDermot found the teen years hard until she discovered books and a diary, which she wrote in daily. She thanks Charlotte Brönte and Harper Lee for paving the way. Molly served as Editor-in-Chief of five national magazines, including J-14, the #1 teen entertainment magazine in the US. She conceptualized and managed several teen websites and their social media components. Molly is a regular columnist, consults as a media strategist and has written five young adult books. Molly was featured in The New York Times, Adweek, Mediaweek, and Folio, and has appeared on MTV, Vh1, Inside Edition and several morning television shows to talk about pop culture and the youth market. Molly started her career at The New Yorker, and previously worked at Marie Claire (Australia) and Redbook.
Natalie McGuire is dedicated to helping clients achieve business success by helping them establish practical and sound tax and financial processes. Focused and specializing on services for small to medium sized nonprofit organizations, she is committed to delivering tax and financial services that meet each client’s unique objectives. Natalie is an innovative and driven accounting professional with over 10 years of accounting experience. Natalie has expertise in providing accounting, diverse tax services (including individual, corporate, partnership, nonprofit income tax returns, sales tax, commercial rent and payroll tax reports) and auditing of non-profit entities. Natalie has a Master of Science degree from Brooklyn College in Accounting and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Baruch College.
Program Manager, Publishing 360
Emily Mendelson comes to Girls Write Now with a love of writing, meaningful experience developing curriculum for nonprofit organizations, and a long-held belief that there is no limit to the ways that people can express their thoughts and ideas. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and is excited to share her passion for stories in all forms as a member of the Girls Write Now team.
Founder & Executive Director
Maya Nussbaum has grown Girls Write Now over the last two decades from a loose association of women writers into a dynamic, volunteer-powered community, and a nonprofit after school program distinguished by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities as one of the top 15 in the nation, by the Nonprofit Excellence Awards as one of New York’s top 10 nonprofits, by Time Out New York as one of the best places to volunteer, and by Youth INC with the Innovators Award for improving the lives of New York youth. Maya has been named one of the Top 40 Feminists under 40 by The Feminist Press, one of the Top 20 Philanthropists under 40 by The Observer, a Local Hero by Metro New York, an Education Hero by The New York Times, a Diane von Furstenberg (DVF) People’s Voice Nominee, and a 2016 White House Champion of Change.
Erin O’Connor joins the team as a fellow after graduating from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Arts in English. During her time at UVM, Erin worked as a reporter for the Community News Service, a student-run news organization providing coverage to small Vermont towns. Prior to joining Girls Write Now, Erin worked as a Communications Consultant for John Snow Incorporated. During her free time, she can be found practicing yoga, making a mess in the kitchen, or curling up with a good book.
Daniella Olibrice is a native New Yorker who enjoys exploring the city’s many facets—its arts, foods, nature, neighborhoods, and people. She comes to Girls Write Now after having been involved in and managed capacity building, workforce development, mentoring and academic programs at universities and non-profit organizations in New York. Her passion for education started in college when she worked with the Cooper Union Saturday Art Program, an afterschool program targeted to students from NYC high schools who were underrepresented in the visual arts and architecture. Daniella has taught as an adjunct professor with State University of New York and City University of New York for several years. In the teaching and mentoring roles she’s held, what she has enjoyed most is the nurturing of the talents she sees in others. Although her first mode of expression was visual (drawing, collage, photography, etc.), she has always been an avid reader, and in the last few years has been exploring different writing genres such as memoir, short stories, and poetry as part of her artistic practice.
Senior Community Coordinator
Lisbett Rodriguez is a Girls Write Now mentee alumna and a Brooklyn College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English. While an undergraduate, she contributed to making two publications of the Brooklyn College literary magazine, The Junction. She has previously worked with two women’s organizations, Legal Momentum and the Brooklyn College Women’s Center, to help and empower women.
Director of Curriculum & Engagement
Erica Silberman fell in love with Girls Write Now when she group-taught a playwriting workshop for them in 2005. Through the years, she has stayed involved with the organization as a mentor, a teacher in various outreach programs, and a member of both the Program Advisory Committee and the Host Committee. Erica has an extensive and wide-ranging background in the theatre as an actress, playwright, director, teacher, acting coach, and producer, as well as experience in the design world. She formerly served as co-president of the Women in the Arts and Media Coalition and on the board of the League of Professional Theatre Women. Erica is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Dramatic Question Theatre, where she runs a monthly literary and music salon.
Senior Editorial Manager
After several years of volunteering as a photographer, Richelle Szypulski is thrilled to share her love of storytelling and strategy in service of the Girls Write Now mission. A journalism graduate of Point Park University and NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute, she has worked in marketing and editorial—most recently as a digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Outside of work, you’ll often find her frequenting yoga, dance and meditation studios around the city, rehearsing for community theater productions or missing her subway stop yet again thanks to a too-enthralling audiobook.