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Finding magic in mentorship: How one CNN Hero impressed hundreds of younger ladies to write down their very own success tales

Keren Taylor, who began WriteGirl, a artistic writing and mentoring program for youngsters in Los Angeles, has seen it firsthand.

“What we see is that young people have been slipping away. Many of them are not showing up at school, online,” stated Taylor, a 2014 CNN Hero.

When the pandemic hit, Taylor’s staff moved all of their packages on-line with a view to attain “the most teens, that are in the greatest need.”

“Many of our girls come from environments where they’re really struggling with unstable family situations, violence in their communities,” she stated.

With a purpose to empower women via creativity and expression, WriteGirl presents individuals assist, steering and the instruments to have their voices heard. During the pandemic, mentees have continued their exploration of topics equivalent to poetry, screenwriting, journalism and songwriting.

In a latest workshop, singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb took lyrics that the ladies wrote and turned them into track.

Since 2001, CNN Hero Keren Taylor's WriteGirl program has helped thousands of teens find their voice.

The group lately has expanded to incorporate packages for boys and coed teams and has clarified its definition of women to incorporate nonbinary and transgender youth.

“It’s teens that are at risk of slipping through the cracks,” Taylor stated of these she helps. “We bring them in and get them inspired … show them poetry, journaling, songwriting.”

After being laid off from a company job in 2001, Taylor used her severance cash to launch WriteGirl. Since then, the non-profit has grown from working with 30 women in a group middle to serving greater than 500 teenagers a yr. Volunteers and mentors embrace journalists, screenwriters, authors, poets and executives.

“Our mentors work every week with teen girls online. And we do a lot of special events and readings, and a whole college program to help all of our girls go to college,” Taylor stated.

College is particularly vital now. In Los Angeles, the place WriteGirl is headquartered, highschool commencement charges have improved lately. Taylor says ensuring teenagers keep on a college-bound trajectory is extra vital than ever.

“Many of our girls do struggle with connectivity,” Taylor stated. “When we find out a girl is in need of a computer, we have been trying to raise the funds to purchase laptops, especially for our college-bound teens, where a laptop becomes critical.”

Amanda Gorman's journey to the inauguration and Super Bowl came with the help of a unique group of mentors

All the ladies in WriteGirl obtain one-on-one mentoring to work on their writing, talking abilities and teachers. This, Taylor says, provides them the arrogance to talk up and attain out for assist in faculty, of their relationships and at dwelling. WriteGirl alums embrace journalists, writers, medical doctors, legal professionals — many have grasp’s levels and doctorates.

“It’s really exciting to see all the different things they’re doing in the world,” Taylor stated. “That they want to do work of meaning is really the most exciting thing for me.”

Earlier this yr, WriteGirl graduate Amanda Gorman delivered her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” on the inauguration of US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“We are always encouraging our girls to share their own story,” Taylor stated. “Amanda is the only one that could put that particular story together, she put herself right in the middle of the poem. She shared it as herself.”

A bunch of WriteGirl volunteers, workers and mentors gathered for a digital watch get together to assist Gorman when she took middle stage.

“When we saw her perform at the inauguration, we could see the same things that we really embody at WriteGirl represented in her,” Taylor stated. “Confidence. Being willing to really be present. What was really exciting to know was that she represents not only every girl that’s ever been in WriteGirl, but she also represents every young woman in this country.”

Want to get entangled? Check out the WriteGirl web site and see how one can assist.

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