September 20th, 2014

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“… 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 2014 Committee on the Arts and Humanities



Mighty Writers Wins Edward R. Murrow Award

September 20th, 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.

>> Read more here >>

Mighty Volunteer

September 19th, 2014


Kenyaita Hodge

Hometown: Philadelphia

How long have you been a volunteer with MW? I began at MW West in February 2015.

How would you define your role at MW? I assist and lead Academy activities. I also help our students with homework and wherever else I am needed.

What skills are necessary for a Mighty volunteer? Be a great listener. Students love to interact and relate. The best way is through dialogue. A volunteer should also have patience, a willingness to help where needed and a passion for working with children.

What makes someone a Mighty Writer? One  eager to learn new writing techniques.. A Mighty Writer uses their creativity and encourages others to be creative..

>>>more from Kenyaita, over here>>>

Mighty Volunteer

September 18th, 2014

KhyraKhyra Lammers

School: Temple University

Hometown: Bronx, NY

How long have you been a volunteer with MW? I started as a workshop teaching assistant in fall 2013. Since fall 2014, I have been an intern at the West Philadelphia location.

How would you define your role at MW? As an older sister or a grandma among other things. Some of the students will jokingly call me that, but I always take it as a compliment. It is nice to know that I am considered a leader in their family.


“At Mighty Writers West, you really can’t miss a new face.”


What skills are necessary for a Mighty volunteer? Adaptability is key. To succeed as a volunteer you have to be able to become quickly accustomed to the newness that comes with each day.

What is unique about Mighty Writers West? The bond among the volunteers, staff and students. The students are welcoming to new faces, which makes it a great environment for all.

>>>more from Khyra, over here>>>

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 >>>

Books to Donate to MW?

September 17th, 2014


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


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

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