Sep 22

The YWP story

There is no one better to tell Young Writers Project's story than the people who live it...

To me, YWP is like a second family! I feel comfortable and confident sharing my poetry, knowing everyone in this beautiful community has the same love for writing and art that I do. - Ava Rohrbaugh, Charlotte, VT







YWP is a big, warm hug filled with encouraging words and warm virtual smiles that I now can't picture my life without. These writers inspire me not only to thoughtfully write and create, but to truly listen and embrace others' voices, styles and art. YWP has given me confidence, comfort and so many awesome writing projects and interesting Tiny Writes conversations, I really can't imagine not logging on every day. - Jadyn Mardy, Hempstead, NY 






I joined Young Writers Project in November of 2017 and have loved being a part of the YWP community since then! I have met other young writers through the site and have gone to many workshops and events hosted by YWP. Everyone is so supportive and kind; I always feel safe to share work on the site and at open mics. Before I started an account on the site I was lost as to how my work could or ever would get published. It is such an honor now to be published in local newspapers and online. Thank you YWP! - Sam Aikman, Richmond, VT


YWP is a community filled with positivity, curiosity, and excitement, and I am so grateful to be a part of it. What's so special about YWP is the collaboration and conversation between individuals and the way we all encourage each other. 
- Suhanee Mitragotri, Lexington, MA




Every morning when I wake up I check YWP. I see loves on my poems, supportive comments, quirky and thoughtful conversations on Tiny Writes, and everything a young writer could want or need. YWP is special because you’ve already made friends – friends you’ve (probably) never met face-to-face – the minute you join. 
- Martha Hutcheson, Manchester, VT




YWP is my favorite place to share my work because it is a safe, supportive community of talented young artists. It has helped me to grow as a writer and inspired me to think in different ways by reading and viewing other people's work. I am so glad to be a part of it. - Annika Gruber, Charlotte, VT (with Eleanor)





Before I joined, I would get angry at politicians, businessmen, my parents, my siblings, ugh I was a mess. But YWP came to my rescue. Young Writers Project isn’t just a place to submit your photos and poems, but a way of life. From messing around on Tiny Writes and asking weird questions, to listening to a podcast and getting inspired by others. You can post challenges, from writing to photography, that everybody will enjoy, attend online sessions and make friends, get published and feel proud of yourself, the choices are endless. - Khizer Mir, Quincy, MA


To me, YWP feels almost like another home, filled with so much love and encouragement, so many people who are passionate about writing and art. I've been so inspired by and learned so much from meeting and sharing work with these writers and artists. I owe a huge thanks to this amazing community. - Julia Todd, South Burlington, VT






Can I just say how amazed I am that YWP is so much like a community of artists, readers, writers, and creators? There are people all over the world here and yet we gather together under the title of “creators.” - MeJo Liao, San Juan Capistrano, CA





YWP is such an amazing community of writers to be a part of. I joined about a year ago and getting feedback on my writing and seeing other writers' amazing work has been so impactful. There are so many passionate people that are brought together by YWP! - Gaia Lenox, Cambridge, VT







YWP is a beautiful network of writers and artists that encourage and inspire each other. Now more than ever, I am so grateful to have found this community, as it has left me a stronger writer, and with a greater appreciation for other young writers throughout the country! - Alessandra Giragos, Concord, MA






YWP has led me to be way more confident in my writing and art. I look up to so many people on Young Writers Project and have made so many friends that share the same interest in creating with me. - Caitlyn Reed, Hinesburg, VT







YWP is completely different from every other group I've ever been a part of, and it's amazing. I adore it because it's a safe place where people can empty their minds and receive excited feedback from people who like words just as much as they do, which is the sort of environment you can't often find in normal life. - Vivian Ross, Middlebury, VT







Struggling with isolation over the last few months I’ve felt like my world has been getting smaller. But YWP has expanded and inspired me. It has enabled me to connect with teens across the country on a profound level. I have always had difficulty expressing myself verbally, but YWP has given me the chance to share the beautiful thoughts I have been sequestering and hear other powerful youth voices. - Zinnia Hansen, Port Townsend, WA





YWP has become a supportive, influential, accepting second family of sorts for me. Every day I can’t wait to write stories or poems that I know are being read by people with a love for literature, just like me. The kind comments posted on my blog and exciting Tiny Write topics absolutely make my day. Joining YWP was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I sincerely thank everyone who made this amazing experience possible. - Whitney Dykstra, Monkton, VT





YWP allows me to express my thoughts about any range of things in a place I know that I won't be judged, and this is really important for me because it's a safe space in a chaotic world, where everyone is civil and you know that you will always be respected as a writer and as an artist. - Narges Anzali, Middlebury, VT




YWP is a really wonderful website and community, connecting people who lack connection, and helping them feel heard – at least that's what it's done for me! - Izzy O'Donnell, Hinesburg, VT






I never really thought of myself as a writer until the fall of eighth grade when I joined YWP. This site wants to hear my voice, the people genuinely care about my opinions and I feel like I have a place in this crazy tornado of a planet. YWP opened up a new world for me of kind people and amazing opportunities that I am thankful for every time I log in to the site. YWP may not be a household name (yet!) but I hope that the people working so hard for this site know that they change lives every day. - Charlotte Hughes, Willsboro, NY



YWP has helped me grow not only as a writer but as a person. I've met people I never would have otherwise, explored the ways I can express myself, and stepped outside my comfort zone more times than would be expected when joining an online writing site. So to me, YWP is a teacher and friend, and I'm very glad to be a part of it. - Rebecca Orten, Middlebury, VT
 



 

WHAT YWP ALUMNI SAY ABOUT YWP

Being part of Muslim Girls Making Change (MGMC) and our collaboration with YWP was an eye-opening experience that introduced me to skills I would have never attained in school. YWP contributed to enhancing my confidence and personal growth as an individual and a performer, as well as providing a safe space for MGMC to discuss issues regarding our identity. - Lena Ginawi, of South Burlington, was a member of the national award-winning slam poetry group MGMC




I grew up in northern Vermont always looking for things. When I found YWP, I held on hard. I would race home after school every day, eager to write something that people would read and acknowledge and attribute to the person I wanted to be. Eager for people to hear me. YWP wasn’t a fleeting or “stepping stone” thing for me – it was my life. Carved me straight out of stone. Shaped me completely. I studied creative writing in college. I received my MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I work in publishing now, am managing editor of a literary journal, and I still find poetry and language to be among the most important things in my entire world. I live in New York City. I’m surrounded by more stimuli than I could ever respond to, but not a day goes by that I don’t utilize and gush gratitude over the community, drive and confidence that YWP gave me. YWP will be with me forever. I can’t imagine it any other way.  - Katy Turner was a longtime member of Young Writers Project and a YWP intern. She is managing editor of Bennington Review.

YWP helped me grow as an artist and gave me confidence in my work in art and photography. Over the years, I’ve received a tremendous amount of help from Susan Reid, who always encouraged me to submit photos and help with projects concerning YWP. Susan also played a part in my transition from high school to college. I am a first-generation college student. Because my parents couldn’t help me, I had to rely on myself and others, like YWP, to guide me through the process. - Kevin Huang was YWP's "staff photographer" before leaving for college.



I joined YWP at the beginning of 8th grade, at the same time my family was considering an English tutor for me, because even though I read two books a day, I couldn’t form a coherent sentence. We never ended up getting that English tutor. Throughout 8th grade it seemed I was miraculously getting better at writing. I continued writing on YWP and working in school ... YWP helped transform me into a better writer and gave me more confidence. For this, I have to thank Geoff, Susan, and the rest of the YWP staff and community that has helped me along the way. - Elizabeth Magnan grew up in Fairfield, VT, and was a longtime member of Young Writers Project.


Without YWP, so many people’s lives would be missing so many things. You keep youth voice alive, youth art alive and a passion for writing alive. - AlexandraContreras-Montesano, of Burlington, was a YWP Community Leader and 2018-19 National Student Poet for the Northeast, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work.






When I was in 6th grade and writing by myself in notebooks, I dreamed of being published in YWP’s newspaper column. I hadn’t realized there was an audience for writing from kids like me, and it gave me something to work toward. After getting fully involved, YWP offered me seemingly endless opportunities to stretch even further, and gave me a community of writers whose work and companionship I still cherish.
YWP is a community for creative and curious kids, and it gave me incentive to keep searching for those kinds of supportive, creative communities – through work, graduate school, and beyond – as an adult. Thank you for teaching this kid from the middle of nowhere that there are people in the world who want to hear the stories floating around in her head. I’m definitely a better writer because of YWP, but YWP made me a better person, too.
- Rebecca Valley grew up in St. Albans, VT and was a longtime member of Young Writers Project

Young Writers Project allowed me to be part of a group in which I could actually accomplish things that I would never have been able to achieve in high school. - Rivan Calderin, of Burlington, was a member of the planning group for YWP's Voices for Change project.





I first realized that I could believe in myself and my capacity to create because YWP believed in it. I got to call myself a writer because YWP told me I was one. And most of all, I got to bloom into the understanding that my words and voice have value inherently. Young Writers Project has changed my life. - Olivia Pintair, of Williston, VT, was a longtime member of Young Writers Project





YWP greatly impacted me and the formation of Muslim Girls Making Change. I can confidently say I, and MGMC, wouldn’t be where we are without the support and guidance YWP provided. - Kiran Waqar, of South Burlington, was a member of the national award-winning slam poetry group MGMC.





 

WHAT EDUCATORS SAY ABOUT YWP

This is my sixth year using Young Writers Project and I love what it does for my English class. The really wonderful thing about YWP is that it’s accessible for all kinds of students – not just the ones who excel at writing. And while I do use it for enrichment, I have been able to engage all levels of students using this program. What is particularly exciting is when one of my students who doesn’t think of him/herself as a writer learns that their piece is going to be published in the local paper. They see their name in print for the first time and the explosion of confidence – to say nothing of how proud their parents are – is almost magical. I’m not really sure what I would do if there were no YWP. - Joe Deffner is an English teacher at Thetford Academy in Thetford, VT.

I love to read the powerful, clever and insightful writing of our young people each week in the local newspaper and online. Their words make me laugh, cry and think. YWP provides a safe, respectful and professionally supported medium for students to express themselves and continue to hone their communication and writing skills. These skills are the bedrock of future opportunity and success for students from all walks of life as they pursue their academic, career and life goals. -Sean McMannon, Superintendent, Winooski School District





It’s not an exaggeration to say that weaving YWP into our middle school language arts curriculum has been a game changer. When students write for an authentic audience beyond the classroom walls, they engage more meaningfully in the writing process and are motivated to put forth their best effort. When they or their classmates get published in one of the YWP collections or partner organizations (The Voice, the YWP Anthology, the Burlington Free Press, VT Digger, and VPR) they see what we teachers know: they are writers. Time and time again, we’ve witnessed sincere excitement and pride when students of all writing levels received feedback on a piece they posted on YWP or learned their work was going to be published. We’re grateful for YWP’s commitment to giving our students a voice in our community, and we’re grateful for those who see the value of YWP and support their efforts. - Kathy Gallagher and Rich Boyers, Edmunds Middle School teachers, Burlington, VT

Each year, I encourage 30-40 students to prepare manuscripts for submission to Young Writers Project. Some years, I have the pleasure of seeing a dozen (or more) faces light up as the students see their work appear in The Voice, the Valley News, and the Anthology.
My students attend conferences, participate in readings, serve as VPR commentators, read, write, and learn. They become members of a literate, vibrant, and engaged community. As an English and composition teacher, I find Young Writers Project to be an ideal ally. YWP helps my students seek, find, and share their voices. With the support of YWP, they practice the craft of writing, develop eloquence, and learn what it means to speak truth to power with love.
- Steve Glazer teaches at Crossroads Academy, Lyme, NH, and has worked with YWP for five years. Read a local news feature on "Mr. Glazer."
 

WHAT SUPPORTERS SAY

For more than a decade it has been a point of pride within the Roundtable to have played a role in launching this impactful organization.
Young Writers Project has been essential in developing a cadre of students – and future employees – with measurably improved written skills, with self-confidence developed through self-expression, and who understand how to be supportive colleagues.
- Lisa Ventriss is President of the Vermont Business Roundtable and a longtime supporter of Young Writers Project



As a lifelong entrepreneur and female founder who understands the need for powerful communication, it is clear that Young Writers Project is a platform designed to give the gift of communication to the next generation in a time when we need their voice to be present more than ever. Young Writers Project truly matters. -Giovanna Jager is a designer and owner of The Karma Bird House, 47 Maple Street, Burlington, VT, where Young Writers Project has its offices and holds workshops in the rooftop conference room.




Young Writers Project is an incredible, formative resource for school-age Vermonters of all backgrounds. Giving kids a place to develop their writing, a chance to get their writing seen, a judgment-free zone to express themselves, a place to build a supportive community - I don’t think you can put a value on that. So many young Vermonters have learned to spread their wings thanks to YWP - whether it’s a farm kid from the Northeast Kingdom or an LGBTQ kid from the New North End, everyone is welcome and encouraged to find and broadcast a unique voice. It’s an organization that helps fulfill the idea of Vermont as a place where all are welcome and accepted, and I’m incredibly proud to support it. - Hillary Read is a member of the board of directors of Young Writers Project, a journalist and a marketing specialist at 3Q Digital, Burlington


 
Since Young Writers Project's beginning in 2006, we have inspired, mentored, published and promoted the work of more than 115,000 young writers and artists.
HELP US KEEP THE YWP MAGIC ALIVE!
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