Writers & Books

Hello Friends of Rochester Youth Year!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Writers & Books, worry no more. After reading this post, you will know all there is to know about this illustrious arts organization, as far as the youth division is concerned. At first glance we are your typical literary organization that promotes reading and writing to people of all ages. What sets us apart from the rest, are the ways in which we do so!

Youth, ages 5-19, have the ability to venture into the written and spoken word in various ways; ways only a kid knows how. We offer classes/camps during Feb., April, and Summer breaks, all centered around creative writing! Sometimes I wish I was a kid again…

Whatever their interests, like Apple, we have a class “for that.” For the chefs, yoga gurus, sci-fi lovers, movie buffs, and more we have a class for that. We have classes that incorporate foreign languages, visual arts, movement, food, puppetry, nature, film making, drama, and much much more. We also offer the traditional poetry, fiction and memoir writing classes as well.

As great as this all sounds, not all of the youth in Rochester are exposed to the services we have to offer. This is where my position comes in! As a fellow, it was my job to ensure that our services were available for any and all children. This was done in three different ways.

1) Implementing Satellite Creative Writing Residencies-An already existing program or a newly implemented program is brought to a school, recreation center, library, or cultural organization. In order to fund the program, grants are written so that the students are able to take part in the program for free. This year we implemented two new satellite programs, one at Jefferson HS and one at Phillis Wheatley Library.

2)Fundraising for the Youth Scholarship Fund-In order to increase and diversify our enrollment, we ask outside funders and members to donate to this cause. All money raised goes toward providing scholarships for children, that need financial assistance, to attend some of our camps for free. We provide partial and full scholarships. This year we raised over $6,500 for youth scholarships!

3)Students referred for scholarships-raising money is one step; finding students to apply for the funding is the final step. By forming relationships with other community agencies and teachers throughout the school districts, we are able to compile a list of students who could benefit from financial assistance and a writing camp. Students need not be on the list to apply. This year we have granted scholarships to over 41 students. Of the 41, about 37 are newcomers to Writers & Books.

Seems like a lot, but this is only one tier of Writers & Books. I didn’t even begin to talk about our adult division, our reading and lecture series, our annual events, etc… If you want to help us extend our resources to more students throughout the city of Rochester, please feel free to donate. If interested, contact Alexa Scott-Flaherty at alexasf@wab.org.

Don’t believe me?

Come visit us at 740 University or http://www.wab.org and see for yourself.

RYY Fellow at Writers & Books
University of Rochester 2009 Alum

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