As Girls Write Now celebrates 20 years, we are thoughtful about our past and looking forward to our future. One particularly poignant moment was watching 52 seniors in our Class of 2018 graduate from the program. Our incredible seniors have earned hundreds of acceptances at numerous colleges around the country — and even the world! — including Binghamton University, Columbia University, Fordham University, Kenyon College, Macaulay Honors College, Middlebury College, New York University, Northwestern, Oxford University, Tufts, and multiple SUNYs. We can’t wait to see what they do, and we are excited to welcome them into the Girls Write Now alumnae community, knowing they will be shape our future.
The work doesn’t stop there! Our offices have been buzzing with activity as we kicked off the College Bound Program with summer workshops. Teen girls from all over New York City joined us to craft powerful personal statements. Our volunteer workshop facilitators came from diverse backgrounds: professors, journalists, editors, and writers from Scholastic, Penguin Random House, Bustle, Buzzfeed News, and other esteemed institutions. They generously took time from their summer schedules in order to provide professional feedback to the girls. As a special treat, this year two Girls Write Now mentee alumnae were essential in bringing this event together. iemi Hernandez-Kim (2003 – 2006) joined as a new staff member and Carmin Wong (2012 – 2014), a recent Howard University graduate working at HarperCollins, came back to volunteer as a facilitator.
Our first event was a Personal Statement A-Z workshop where facilitators worked with teens to break down the key components of a personal statement and to create an outline for their own personal narratives. For some, this was the first time they attempted a personal statement. As one College Bound participant stated, “I didn’t really know what direction to follow with my essay and writing with my group really helped.”
We welcomed them back for College Essay Editing Sessions, where they brought a draft and had a one-hour session with a writing mentor to finesse and shape their writing. We also brought in a special panel of college admissions experts, including Girls Write Now veteran volunteer and former Sarah Lawrence admissions counselor Tom Rabbit, to answer more specific questions about the college admissions process, scholarships, and financial aid from both mentees and their parents.
Pairs immediately clicked — one duo’s hour long session ended up turning into three, as they talked about broader goals for college and the application process. In the true spirit of Girls Write Now’s mentoring mission, they exchanged emails, promised to polish up their essays, and to keep in close touch on the pathway to college.