September 20th, 2014


“… your program’s selection as one of the 50 finalists distinguishes [Mighty Writers] as one of the top arts-and-humanities-based programs in the country.”

—President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, 2014



Mighty Writers Wins Edward R. Murrow Award

September 18th, 2014


Mighty Writers has won a prestigious 2015 Edward R, Murrow Award for an audio documentary titled GOING BLACK: THE LEGACY OF PHILLY SOUL RADIO.

GOING BLACK: THE LEGACY OF PHILLY SOUL RADIO, a two-hour audio documentary that aired on public radio stations around the country in 2014 and again in 2015, recaptured the glory days (1950—1979) of Black radio in Philadelphia.

Featured in GOING BLACK were such radio pioneers as Douglas “Jocko” Henderson, Georgie Woods, Louise Williams,Jimmy Bishop, Harvey Holiday, Sonny Hopson, and Butterball among many others.

GOING BLACK: THE LEGACY OF PHILLY SOUL RADIO was written and produced by Yowei Shaw (Senior Producer) and Alex Lewis; Consulting Archivist: Jack McCarthy; Consulting Editor: Jacquie Gales Webb; Audio Mixing by Jeff Towne. Producer: Maggie Leyman. Executive Producer was Tim Whitaker.

Narrator for GOING BLACK: THE LEGACY OF PHILLY SOUL RADIO was legendary music producer, Kenny Gamble.

Special thanks to Cody Anderson, Bruce Warren, Carl Helm, Dyana Williams, John Pettit and Wynne Alexander.

A special Mighty thanks to Philadelphia radio station WXPN for the use of their studios during production.

Support for “Going Black” was provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s “Knight Arts Challenge,” the McEwen Fund, the Lumpkin Family Foundation, the Argus Fund, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (through partnership with the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and PECO).


Mighty Volunteer

September 18th, 2014


Marianne Murphy

School: University of the Arts

Hometown: Bethesda, MD

How long have you been a MW volunteer? Since Sept. 2014

What is your role at MW? I lead workshops for 8-12 year olds that combine writing with arts & crafts.

What skills are necessary for a Mighty volunteer? It’s important to create an encouraging space where kids and teens feel safe to express anything they want in their writing.


“I love writing short stories, music, fiction for children and animation screenplays.”


What is unique about Mighty Writers? It’s a warm space full of creativity! Everyone always seems so spirited and inspired. I love it.

>>> more from Marianne, over here >>>

Girl Power Reading & Showcase

September 17th, 2014

MW Girl Power Cover Photo

Mighty Girl Power Instructors
Ms. Mikala, Ms. Martha,
Ms. Kate, Ms. Ann & Ms. Caroline
invite you, your family & friends to join them for

The Girl Power Reading & Showcase
Sunday, May 3, 2015
4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
MW South, 1501 Christian St.

Light fare, displays of student writing
& featured girl power readings

To RSVP as a reader or visitor,
contact rloeper@mightywriters.org or
267-239-0899, ext. 5

Thank you to the Valentine Foundation for providing the grant funding for Mighty Writers to bring ten Girl Power workshops into local schools & organizations this spring. This event will be our culminating event. Come join girls from around the city as they share their power.

But Maybe Not That Copy of Western Civ 101, Thanks

September 17th, 2014

Free Books Sign

Care to donate your books to some Mighty kids this spring?

We’re in the market for new or lightly used books for kids, teens and adults. Some donated books are integrated into our programs for kids and teens; others populate the street libraries we set outside our sites, where they fine a home with readers of all ages.

To donate books at one of our Mighty Writers locations, please contact the program director (below) via email to arrange a drop-off time.

MW South, 1501 Christian St.
Andrea Walls, awalls@mightywriters.org

MW West, 3861 Lancaster Ave.
Annette John-Hall, ajohnhall@mightywriters.org

MW El Futuro, 1025 S. 9th St.
Laura Karabell, lkarabell@mightywriters.org

Mighty Volunteer

September 16th, 2014

Quaizee & Calvin

Quaizee T. Isham

School: JEVS E3 Power Center

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Here’s what Quaizee has to say about his experience at MW South: 

Since starting at Mighty Writers in February, I’ve come to love this program and its atmosphere. My role here is to tutor the children, creating healthy and everlasting bonds. I’m also eager to help with pretty much anything else I can get my hands on.

The skills that make a strong Mighty volunteer are patience and joyfulness. Mighty Writers South (located at 1501 Christian St.) is unique because it’s welcoming, loving and full of life.

Two things that make a Mighty Writer are creativity and a willingness to learn new things. If I could place a Mighty Writers program anywhere, I would put one in Africa. A program like this in Africa would help a lot of children build key skills for the future and give them a place to feel at home.

Zadie Smith On Writing

September 15th, 2014

1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

3. Don’t romanticize your “vocation.” You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle.” All that matters is what you leave on the page.

4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.

5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.

7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the Internet.

8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.

9. Don’t confuse honors with achievement.

10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand, but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.


Can You Put That In Writing?

September 15th, 2014


We’re often asked how we chart writing progress. How we know if kids are becoming better writers.

We have a few answers.

We collect report cards, so we see how each Mighty kid is doing in English and language arts.

We also have a computer program that analyzes writing progress. The kids type their stories into a template, press submit and the program evaluates their writing. It may be they need to be more descriptive. Or maybe there’s too much description.

The kids revise, and resubmit. We track their scores over time.

There’s another way we judge how kids are progressing with writing. It has nothing to do with report cards or computer programs. It’s purely observational. It’s called confidence.

Early into our launch of Mighty Writers, one of our little Mighty guys stopped me as I was coming through the front door. He had a question.

“How do you get the money to run Mighty Writers?”

“Any way I can,” I told him, adhering to my vow to always speak truth to Mighty power.

He thought about that for a moment. I could see the self-esteem he’d earned at Mighty Writers grow right in front of me.

“Know what I’m going to do, Mr. Tim? I’m going to open up a sneaker store and give the money to Mighty Writers. And then when I grow up, I’m going to be a lawyer and buy you a whole lot of Mighty Writer houses.”

I didn’t doubt him. I had only one request.

“Can you put that in writing?”

—Tim Whitaker

Inside a Mighty Class

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