My Nonprofit Reviews
Char H. Jones
Review for Women's Institute of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
I have taken classes at The Women's Institute of Houston for more than ten years. My primary focus has been the creative writing courses taught by Christopher Woods. He encourages his classes to write in a variety of forms - poetry, essays, short fiction and plays, and then he generously helps us find publication opportunities. Because of him, I can count over 80 publications. The novel writing class taught by Chris Rogers has also expanded my skills as a writer. To explore another interest of mine, I have also taken many of the religion classes from Jill Carroll, Rabbi Rossel and Pittmann McGehee - all scholars on various topics related to the world's great religions, and all extremely thought-provoking. I would say they have helped me to sort through the beliefs I was taught as a child. And on another note, especially during an election season, you can't beat Richard Murray's classes on politics for both entertainment and education.
Another aspect of the Women's Institute that I love is the Lecture Luncheon series. Five times a year, world-class speakers are brought in for in-depth lectures followed by lunch and a Q&A session. It's been exciting to hear about everything from cyberwarfare to how a cartoonist at "The Economist" fights for freedom of speech for cartoonists in oppressed societies around the world. This coming year, speakers will cover economics, politics, the "Arab Spring," music and fashion's impact on culture. I can't say enough good things about The Women's Institute.
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Review for The Office of Letters and Light, Berkeley, CA, USA
In an age of "illiteracy by choice," the NaNoWriMo program inspires people to write "the great American novel," or "the great World novel" since this is an international event. 2010 was my first year to participate and I was absolutely amazed by the energy in the community of writers during the month of November. Having completed a first draft of a novel, I find I am now a more critical and observant reader of novels. I can't think of a better vehicle for getting young people interested in literary works.