Like some of you, I have been outraged, moved, inspired and deeply saddened by the series by Andrea Elliot in The New York Times this week, "Invisible Child." Elliot spent a year with a young girl named Dasani, homeless like 22,000 other children in one of the wealthiest cities on the planet, and told her story. Reading this series, however, also renewed my deep commitment to one of the most important organizations, I believe, that professional women writers can support: Girls Write Now, which helps girls like Dasani tell their stories for themselves. (I am GWN's board chair.)
As the only organization in New York that pairs high-need, at-risk girls with professional women writers as their mentors, Girls Write Now gives voice to the invisible girls--90% of them girls of color, 20% of them immigrants, and 66% of them living below the poverty level--of our society, teaching them to respect themselves, their stories and their words enough to write out loud and author change in their own lives.
These girls need your help. GWN has expanded its services to provide a panel of therapists to support the girls and their mentors as issues arise, to train them to create digital content, and to successfully apply to college. (100% of them do.) But without the support of men and women who refuse to look the other way as a huge part of our population is silenced and left behind, Girls Write Now cannot continue its important work.
Nothing I can say, of course, is more powerful than listening to the girls in their own words. Please, take a minute to listen to Dani Green read her moving poem "Dear Kanye, January 14", from our CHAPTERS reading series in 2012. And if you want to hear more from Dani and girls like her in the world, please give.