Only one month into the new year, Girls Write Now is already breaking through barriers and challenging everybody’s expectations. After a fantastic fall semester of our Writing and Mentoring Program and our Digital Media Mentoring Program, our girls and mentors are forging new paths and building stronger mentor-mentee relationships. Through our writing, we are discovering ourselves and testing our limits.
We kicked off 2014 with our Mentee Mid-Year Workshop and our Mentor Training II Workshop to give our mentors and mentees an opportunity to reconnect with their peers, reflect on where they’ve been, and look ahead to where they’re going.
At the Mentee Mid-Year workshop, a panel of inspiring youth activists spoke to the mentees about how their own personal stories shaped their promising futures. The panel challenged mentees to dig deep within themselves and discover and embrace their own stories. Mentees reflected on how their stories actually empower them, and are a call to action. Mentee Shirleyka wrote, “The workshop taught me how to be a better human being and to give back to my community. It also taught me how to be more aware of everything around me and how my stories can break barriers just by sharing them.”
In Mentor Training II, mentors in both the Digital Media Mentoring Program and the Writing and Mentoring Program reflected on what it means to be a mentor, shared resources and ideas on how to become a better mentor, and traded stories and anecdotes. Part of Girls Write Now’s continued success is our strong community, creating an empowering support network of women. Mentor Alice writes, “Hope is contagious, and I feel lucky to participate in a program that fuels it in abundance.”
While we had a fantastic fall, the infectious energy of our mentors and mentees has excited us for the spring! Community members have captured these enchanting moments in their own voices to share with you:
- Experience the struggle and elation in finding moments of clarity with mentee Leslie:
“Just because I’m a Hispanic female from the Bronx doesn’t mean that I’m not able to accomplish my goals in life.”
- Be inspired by the powerful voices of the youth activist panel with mentee Shirleyka, as she left the workshop confident and ready to break through: “To be frank with you all, I consider myself a very introverted person, but that workshop got the best out of me.”
- Mentor Alice wrote about her relationship with her mentee Jamerly, and what it means to be a Digital Media Mentor: “The most satisfying aspect of my experience as a mentor has been getting to say “yes.” Yes, you can write in any genre; Yes, you can submit to that organization; Yes, you are a writer.”
- Finally, reflect on the two-way nature of mentoring with Program Intern Olaya, from the perspective of the unmentored: “This mentor-mentee relationship could almost be described as a lifestyle choice. Both parties make sacrifices of sorts.”