Winter is halfway through the program year at Girls Write Now, and just the right time to pause and take our pulse as a community. That’s why we had our Mentee Mid-Year Workshop on January 12th, followed by a Mentor Training (Part II) on January 19th, both opportunities for mentors and mentees to bond and brainstorm with their peers over a long afternoon. Mid-year events conclude in February with Portfolio Check-In Days, involving individual meetings with all pairs.
The Mentee Mid-Year Workshop was a day filled with conversations about writing, empowerment, and confidence, both in everyday life and on stage. Community Partners Claudia De La Cruz, of Da Urban Butterflies, and Tzahalla Kessari, of Girl Be Heard (formerly Project Girl Performance Collective), shared their wisdom on being a teenage girl in New York City and how to use your voice. Some gems from the workshop include:
- On fiction versus memoir: “I like fiction because in fiction, even if events aren’t true, the emotions in it are true.”
- “I felt powerful when my mentor asked me to look over her poem and revise it… she’s a screenwriter and I’m a poet.”
- “Do you have words? Do you write? Do you speak? Do you walk? Then you do, and you have power.” — Claudia De La Cruz
- “I aspire to inspire before I expire.” — Tzahalla Kessari
Check out what mentees Angelica and Bre’Ann thought of their day without mentors, and what Tzahalla thought of our girls!
A week after our mentees left our writing center feeling “inspired” and “fearless” (their words!), our mentors joined us for Mentor Training Part II, a day dedicated to mapping out the mentoring relationship, sharing stories and inspirations, and swapping shop talk: how to encourage your mentee to edit, how to prep her for college, how to say goodbye to your senior. We welcomed Therapy Panelist Eva Bloch, who led mentors through a doodling exercise designed to explore communication and creativity, College Prep Co-Chair Moira Taylor to prep mentors of juniors for what’s around the bend, and GWN Mentor Alum Amy Feldman to talk shop, specifically editing. Here’s some food for thought from Mentor Training:
- Do you feel like a rookie, a confidant, a guidance counselor, an advocate, or a teacher in your mentoring relationship? How does that change for you?
- Advice on writing: “You can’t get struck by lightning if you aren’t out in the field.”
- …and advice on editing: “You can’t expect to achieve brilliance in an hour, but there may be something you can take away and use to create brilliance later.”
Mentors Heather and Joanna both took the time to reflect on their mentoring experience so far. Read on!