YWP was founded by Geoffrey Gevalt, an award-winning writer and editor with 32 years of experience working in journalism and nine years working with students and teachers. In 2003, while Managing Editor of the Burlington Free Press, he worked with the Vermont Chapter of the National Writing Project to create a weekly feature that offered tips on teaching writing and best student work. Within three years this feature had evolved into a student-led weekly feature with some of the best young writing in the state.
In 2006, Gevalt was given a two-year grant from the Vermont Business Roundtable to form a nonprofit, leave journalism and expand the program. In August, 2006, Young Writers Project, Inc. was incorporated as an independent 501(c)3 corporation, youngwritersproject.org was created and work began on expanding the organization's impact.
YWP's tale by the numbers:
- 20,000 submissions and posts each year on youngwritersproject.org
- An estimated 160 students have participated as judges of best work for publication
- 4,500 students have had their work published in six daily newspapers and three weeklies. This weekly series (during the school year) is being extended to two additional newspapers, Vermont Public Radio and, occasionally, on Vermont Public Television in 2011/12
- Students from 320 schools in Vermont (and part of New Hampshire) have participated.
- 250 pieces of student art published.
- 3,000 entries given feedback by 225 College Mentors since spring 2007.
- An average of 700 visits to youngwritersproject.org each day.
- About 4,000 students are active registered users of youngwritersproject.org ...
- At least 70 schools participated in YWP's Vermont Writes Day in 2012, raising the total pariticpants in three years of this event to some 55,000.
- 53 schools are participating in YWP Schools Project a comprehensive digital writing service including classrooms, mentoring and training
- 93 teachers have participated in YWP's Master's Level Practicum on Digital Writing