Yet national statistics show that youths' writing skills diminish as they progress through school to the point that less than half of graduating seniors in the U.S. are proficient in writing. The statistics are far worse for youths of color and those from economically challenged backgrounds.
A recent study by Sir Ken Robinson, a leading voice in school reform, shows parents’ and youths’ biggest concerns about today’s educational system are the lack of creative pursuits; the lack of freedom – and time – for youths to pursue their own interests; and a test culture that forces standardization of teaching and assessment. Yet, as he puts it, "Imagination is the source of human achievement."
YWP has a different approach. YWP teaches writing with these steps:
- help youths find, explore and gain enthusiasm for their own ideas;
- provide safe, civil, non-judgmental spaces for youths to share work and exchange feedback;
- show youths how to improve the quality of their work; and
- publish their best work all over the place to bring affirmation and a sense of purpose.
Since our start in 2006 a founding grant from Vermont Business Roundtable, we’ve relied on many friends to keep us going -- people, businesses and foundations -- who understand the importance and impact of our work. With the generous help of these friends, YWP has been able to touch the lives of 100,000+ young people in positive ways. They have posted more than 400,000 stories, poems, photos and comments on this online writing community, youngwritersproject.org; they've been published in our anthologies and digital magazine, The Voice and in newspapers and other media partners such as VPR.net, VtDigger.org and medium.com.
Whether you are a long-time friend, or new to youngwritersproject.org, we ask you to help us out today: PLEASE GIVE TO SUPPORT OUR WORK. YWP is a 501c3 nonprofit and so all donations are tax-deductible.
These are your own kids, the kids in your community, the kids who will soon be applying to you for a job and taking leadership roles in your community. When you support YWP, you support them. We need you, friends.
Please give to Young Writers Project.
Young Writers Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping youths build the confidence and communication skills needed to succeed in school, college, the workplace and beyond. Our work is rooted in a diverse online community -- youngwritersproject.org -- an environment defined by respect, quality and innovation where young people learn from their differences and gain skills from peers, mentors and experts.
Diversity and Inclusion
Young Writers Project seeks to make its organization and all its programs welcoming and safe to all youths. Through a diverse staff and intentional partnerships, YWP builds a vibrant diversity within its online community -- youngwritersproject.org -- to allow its members to learn from their differences in ethnicity, geography, economics and opportunity. Our forum provides a practical way for youths to gain cultural literacy, build confidence in communication, find voice and develop aspirations.
Young Writers Project offers programs that build community, promote learning and develop authentic audience.
The members-only, unmoderated community at youngwritersproject.org is free and accessible to any youth, anywhere with an internet connection. It is a forum where we strive to provide young writers of all ability and interest levels writing tools and ideas that are motivational and instructive. The accounts are verified by hand to ensure that applicants are genuinely youths or vetted adults. We have only one rule: Be respectful. Members respect and reciprocate the rule because they care about having a space where it is safe to take creative risk.
Young Writers Project provides informal learning opportunities for youths throughout this site. Youths discover and explore their own ideas, exchange respectful feedback, get guidance from YWP staff, college mentors and visiting artists and publish their best work. This process helps youths see the power of revision, gain confidence and build their skills. The site is NOT moderated, but has proven to be entirely civil over 10 years and 400,000 posts -- something of an Internet phenomenon. This allows youths to take chances and stretch themselves. We offer daily challenges, special projects and other fun widgets such as Ideaboard and Six-Word stories.
The Schools Project is on a separate site: For a modest fee ($250 per site) we offer teachers a safe, private digital classroom where students can practice writing, respond to daily prompts or projects, comment and use digital media as a complement to regular school curriculum. Some teachers and students call this The Fun Writing Project. YWP provides, for this same fee, full technical support and content tips, advice and help. Schools wishing more than four teachers can have a group rate. These sites -- and this methodology -- have been proven effective in helping youths improve their performance, grow to like writing more and gain understanding of each other.
Young Writers Project's community and academy offer youths a trusted audience of peers and mentors at every step of the writing process. Our publications and media partnerships provide youths authentic, external audience for their work. And a calendar of live-streamed events gives youths an opportunity to present to live and remote audiences in real-time, as well as to connect with live performers elsewhere. YWP, with youth help, selects and publishes work each week with media partners in Vermont as well as non-geographic publications such as YWP's monthly digital magazine, The Voice , as well as the respected writing site, medium.com.
Who can help?
Funders and Sponsors
Young Writers Project is funded entirely by charitable donations and sponsorships. Our funders range from individuals who give in $5 increments to corporations and large foundations. We are grateful to each and every one of these generous donors for their gifts, and look forward to their continued support. Every cent is spent in service of our mission. If you wish to become a donor or sponsor, please visit our Support page.
If you love to write and want to share your passion and talent with youths, we want you to join our fleet of online writing mentors. Our mentors come from all walks of life - they are college students, authors and enthusiastic amateurs - and motivate younger YWP community members to write, revise, share and polish their pieces for publication. Check out our Mentors page for specifics about how it works and how you can get started!
We rely on outside volunteers to help us run workshops and events smoothly. What do you get in return? Free admission, a sense of accomplishment and, usually, chocolate. Contact us to learn more!
Our volunteer board works hard to help Young Writers Project stay on track and accomplish its mission. If you're a well-connected go-getter with a passion for helping kids succeed, we want a piece of your energy and enthusiasm! Send your letter of inquiry to Geoffrey Gevalt, YWP's Executive Director.
With so much activity and content being posted on our site, we need help finding the best work for publication. Mentors help with this, but readers are most helpful of all. Readers' only job is to review responses to our writing challenges and to recommend the best of them for publication. Once a piece has been recommended, mentors and YWP staff step in to help the author polish it for publication. Contact Susan Reid, YWP Publications Coordinator, to learn more.
We believe that great partnerships are those where all parties stand to gain from the collaboration. If you have an idea for a project that you think Young Writers Project is uniquely qualified to help you realize, or if there is something Young Writers Project does that you think you could enhance, we would love to chat! Check out our Partners page to learn more.
Parents, if you're thinking, "Where do I fit in?", you have come to the right place. Young Writers Project has many opportunities for you to become involved and support the work we do. Any of the categories above will give you a sense of the opportunities that exist.
Stories of Impact
Julia joined Young Writers Project in 2010, when she was in fourth grade. She has since published countless poems, placed in international competitions and been accepted into national youth writing conferences... all while keeping her grades up in school! We asked her how Young Writers Project has had an impact on her life. Here's what she said:
Young Writers Project is more than just a website; it’s a home, it’s a family, and it’s a way of life. If I hadn’t found YWP back in fourth grade, I do not know who or where I would be. Young Writers Project has given me life and passion and shown me that I can let the world hear my voice.
Julia is now a busy high school junior, community writing mentor and prospective creative writing major.
Lena discovered Young Writers Project when she and three of her friends auditioned for a slam team that would compete later that year at Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival. It was the group's first poem, and it rocketed them to fame, regionally, nationally and abroad. At an event in 2016, we asked her how she felt about Young Writers Project. Her response:
You can catch up with Lena and her teammates, who call themselves Muslim Girls Making Change, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their website.
Roland's struggle for self-identity turned into a journey of discovery when he joined Young Writers Project.
In 7th grade, I was borderline suicidal. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and that stressed me out a lot. I was nearly at the edge of insanity when my English teacher told me about Young Writers Project. It completely turned my life around. I learned what I wanted to do, what I loved to do and what I was good at all at once. Now, because of Young Writers Project, I'm a well-adjusted young man with a future in writing.
Roland went on to become a Young Writers Project mentor, intern and is now studying writing in college.
The J.R.R. Tolkiens ($5000+)
Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art
Vermont Business Roundtable
Physician's Computer Company
Vermont Mutual Insurance Company
The Langston Hughes ($1000-$4999)
Downs Rachlin Martin
Hickock & Boardman/Coldwell Banker
New England NFP
North Country Federal Credit Union
Bill and Kate Schubart
Peter and Margie Stern
Vermont Electric Power Co.
Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
The Maya Angelous ($100-$999)
Union Mutual Insurance