Voices For Change

Voices for Change is a social justice initiative led by a core group of YWP writers, including Narges Anzali (photo above in Burlington, VT). This youth-led program builds leadership, collaboration and audiences for young people to advocate for positive change. Through writing and art, spoken word and publication, Voices for Change helps youth gain the skills, confidence and opportunity to express themselves and be heard on issues that matter to them -- climate change, racial and gender equity, school safety, living in a just and fair world. This project was inspired by the work and leadership of Muslim Girls Making Change, the award-winning slam poetry group who started with Young Writers Project in 2016 and who went on receive the 2018 National Education Association SuAnne Big Crow Memorial Award for promoting human and civil rights and the 2018 Ed Everts Social Justice Activist Award from Vermont's Peace & Justice Center. 

ABOUT VOICES FOR CHANGE

GET INVOLVED
Voices for Change is led by the young writers and artists of Young Writers Project. ALL ARE WELCOME!

Leadership opportunities include:
  • Planning and hosting spoken word events and writing workshops
  • Creating writing challenges on issues that matter to you and sending them out to the wider YWP community -- about 4,500 active users on youngwritersproject.org!
  • Participating in youth and school conferences, marches, and community gatherings on social justice and climate change themes
  • Advising Young Writers Project on ways to showcase young people's voices, art & culture
  • Helping to raise awareness, tolerance and understanding in the YWP community and beyond
  • Reaching out and collaborating with new partners - youth groups, schools, local nonprofits, other students - to share this work

Want to get started? Contact Susan Reid, YWP Executive Director, [email protected]; (802) 324-9538
 
WORKSHOPS AND OPEN MICS
In the 2019-20 school year, Voices for Change will present four writing workshops/open mic events with our partners at Burlington City Arts, 135 Church Street, Burlington. These events will be led by Voices for Change's core leaders and will happen on Thursday nights, from 6-8 pm, in the beautiful, historic BCA building in downtown Burlington. DATES to come soon! Topics will be inspired by the social justice activism of our times, including speaking out about climate change, immigration, racial equity, gender equity, school safety, and more. Youth workshop leaders will seek input from members of the YWP online community about themes and topics -- and incorporate these ideas in the events. The more voices the better! Do you want to lead or co-lead a workshop? What about being our staff photographer? Share your energy and ideas with us! 
WORKSHOPS and EVENTS FROM 2018-19
Check out these examples of Voices for Change workshops and open mic events presented by YWP's youth leaders at Burlington City Arts in the 2018-19 school year:
PUBLICATION
Young Writers Project offers multiple opportunities for publication with authentic media. The writing and art that flows from Voices for Change is published in Vermont newspapers, on VPR.net, VtDigger.org, and on YWP's website, youngwritersproject.org; in monthly digital magazine, The Voice; and annual Anthology.  

Check out these recent Voices for Change pieces that have been published by YWP and our media partners:
MUSLIM GIRLS MAKING CHANGE
Voices for Change was inspired by four amazing teenagers -- Hawa Adam, Lena Ginawi, Balkisa Omar, and Kiran Waqar -- who came together in 2016 to form Muslim Girls Making Change (MGMC). They were students at two different high schools in the Burlington area, but they attended the same mosque and they shared an urgent calling to speak out about their lives as young Muslim women in a fraught, post 9/11 world.
One night, they came to a Young Writers Project open mic and performed Wake Up, America! They blew the doors off! And they were launched! YWP coached them and aided their passage to the Brave New Voices slam poetry competition in Washington, DC in the summer of 2016.
Upon their return, their reputation as a powerhouse slam poetry group grew, along with requests for performances across Vermont and the US, national media attention, and civil rights awards. 
They all went off to college in the fall of 2018, but their inspiration lives on at Young Writers Project with Voices for Change!
Find out more about Muslim Girls Making Change: 
SUPPORT THIS PROGRAM
Voices for Change began with a founding grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art with support from The Bay and Paul Foundations, Physician's Computer Company, the Amy E. Tarrant Foundation, and the Rowland Foundation. To help sustain this program as it grows and develops into a fully youth-led project and for more information, please contact Susan Reid, YWP Executive Director, [email protected]; (802) 324-9538.

THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS!
CONTACT US
Susan Reid, YWP Executive Director, [email protected]; (802) 324-9538
Young Writers Project is located at 47 Maple Street, Suite 216, Burlington, VT 05401