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In Philadelphia, about half of all students drop out of school, and half of the working-age population is illiterate.
For years, Tim Whitaker worked as a journalist, writing about troubling figures like these, until he decided that he needed to do something about it.
Whitaker founded Mighty Writers to provide a crucial service: free writing workshops and tutoring programs to children age 7 to 17, led by volunteers who are committed to solving the city’s literacy problems. City residents quickly took notice.
“We mostly use word of mouth,” says Tim. “And we had a waiting list by the first week.”
Today, Mighty Writers has grown to provide free writing workshops every night of the week, focusing on subjects across the writing spectrum: from creating poetry and reporting on sports, to crafting college essays and preparing for the SATs. Their workshop on creating comic books was so popular that the organization has opened a comic-focused workspace and gallery. Here, illustrators and art students teach kids how to write and design their own characters and stories.
This past year, 300 volunteers took part in Mighty Writers programs, reaching 1,000 children in Philadelphia. Looking to the future, the organization hopes to open up centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods across the city.
The goal is to teach children to write with clarity, which will help them through school and ultimately in their professional lives. But at Mighty Writers, children also learn how to feel good about themselves as writers.
“We really encourage children to take on the identity of the organization,” says Whitaker. “We let them know that they are not just taking a workshop with us, but that they Mighty Writers, too!”
- Micah Goldfus
1501 Christian Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
At Mighty Writers, a 501©(3) nonprofit, Philadelphia city kids learn that writing with clarity leads to a lifetime of success.
*GuideStar: Listed http://www2.guidestar.org/organizations/b/01-0920922/mighty-writers.aspx
*BBB: Not Listed
*Charity Navigator: Not Listed
*Intelligent Philanthropy: Not Listed
Featured on http://philanthroper.com/ (11/16/2011)