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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Girls Write Now, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Unknown

Mission: Girls Write Now Inc. (GWN) is New York’s premier creative writing and mentoring non-profit organization, matching bright, creative teenage girls from the city’s public high schools with professional women writers in the community since 1998. Through weekly one-to-one mentoring, monthly group genre-based workshops, and a five-part public reading series, their mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment where underserved or at-risk high school girls can expand their natural writing talents, develop independent voices, and build confidence in making healthy choices in school, career and life. The organization has recently been featured in The New York Times and on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Girls Write Now has been distinguished by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities as one of the top arts- and humanities-based programs in the country serving youth beyond the school hours. More: www.girlswritenow.org.

Geographic areas served: New York City

Programs: Founded in 1998, girls write now is new yorks first and only writing and mentoring organization for girls. Girls write now is a community of women writers dedicated to providing guidance, support and opportunities for underserved girls to develop their creative, independent voices and write their way to a better future. Girls write now has been distinguished twice by the white house and the presidents committee on the arts and the humanities as one of the nations top after school programs, twice by the nonprofit excellence awards as one of new yorks top ten nonprofits, and twice by the new york city council as one of the citys top girl focused initiatives. Our girlsover 90% high need and over 95% girls of colorhave performed at lincoln center and the united nations, published original work in newsweek, elle india, aol cambio/huffington post, and our award-winning anthology, and earned hundreds of scholastic art & writing awards. 100% of our seniors go on to college.

Community Stories

132 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with GWN since its inception as a non-profit. GWN was started by a small but incredibly visionary group of young women who were committed to finding a way for girls to express themselves as they confront life's challenges. GWN is limited only by budget as the creative energy of its community constantly gives rise to new ways to serve the girls' diverse needs, and literally has acted as a life-saver for some as evidenced by the sometimes heartwrenching content and passion of the girls' writings.

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I honestly feel GWN is a great program for young women. Although this is my first year this program I have no doubt in my mind that this is going to be an outstanding year.I mean the fact that theres even an organization as such promoting and supporting young female writers. You dont get that so often in this community. I am just thankful for having encoutered this program and I look forward to this year.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GWN is such an amazing organization! SO glad I found it and am able to be a part of it. I'm a first year mentor, but already I feel like i'm a part of a great community. It is a great motivation for me to continue my writing.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a fantastic organization. Girls Write Now is the perfect synthesis for education and support, something every young girl, writer or not, deserves. - The mentor-mentee model, bookended by orientations, workshops and showcases, provides for one-one-one as well as communal learning - a truly all-encompassing model for education. - The relationship building through the guise of writing is a wonderful way to dually provide support for girls at an age they might need it most, while fostering a life-long skill and creative outlet. The emphasis on writing eliminates the pressure of what might otherwise me an awkward position, providing an instant bond, project, and method of communication between the mentor and mentee. - Not only do I stand behind Girls Write Now's mission and method, I also stand behind their current operation. I was lucky enough to attend one of the last readings, and I was blown away by the sophistication of the girls, the wisdom and unabashed courage that spoke from their writing, and the undeniable, visible bond between each mentor and her mentee. Girls Write Now is clearly doing something really Right, Right now!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just joined Girls Write Now about a month ago and already I'm so impressed with the organization. They are focused, enthusiastic, professional, and inspiring and in only two orientations it's clear to see what a difference they make in the lives of young women in this city. At our most recent orientation, the mentors met the mentees for the first time and it was great to see how some of the returning mentees were filled with confidence, how they were proud and excited to identify themselves as writers, and how the new mentees had breakthroughs in just one afternoon, some of them saying how they had talked and wrote about some very personal things for the very first time.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been blessed to be a newcomer to an organization that encourages young writers and young women to be themselves and expand their horizons. The staff is wonderfully kind and this years crop of mentees astounds me with their grace and intelligence.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Where can you possibly go wrong with Girls Write Now? NO WHERE. GWN is my sanctuary of hope. With all the love and support ,us, the mentees, recieve from the GWN staff and mentors, I wouldn't ever trade it in for another. GWN is life. We, as a community, write because it is embedded in our DNA. GWN has become a part of us

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Through Girls Write Now I have learned so many things that I never imagined. It encourages me to write and express myself through writings. Getting to work with Professionals--mentors always helpful.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Girls Write Now is a wonderful organization with the ability to support and encourage the growth of many young girls who need it. Girls Write Now has increased my courage and self-confidence, and for that I will always be grateful.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My English (not only writing, but also reading & speaking)improved a lot through Girls Write Now!! The activities & programs that they offered are excellent~! I am proud and blessed of being a mentee of the community

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is my third year as a mentee with Girls Write Now. My time with this organization has helped me grow immensely as a writer and as a person, and my mentor will be a life-long friend.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Well-organized, a great mission, and fun too! I'm a mentor this year, and looking forward to all the events with my mentee!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Girls Write Now was and still is such a wonderful environment in which a girl can grow both as a person and a writer. Everyone in the community is so supportive; I felt safe and comfortable at the same time I started taking risks.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a Girls Write Now Mentee during the 2007-2008 school year and it really transformed the way I work as a writer. Coming in as a casual high school poet, mostly full of angst, my writing was transformed into serious work through experience in editing and a careful examination of process. Girls Write Now provided amazing contacts, starting with my individual mentor, who remains a critical part of my life, and expanding its way out to larger writing and art networks, including one that works with college age artists from around New York City. Although I frequently struggled with the contents of the workshops and the pressure to produce on the spot, they always left me with something to return to, to re-examine, edit, and transform after it was all over. Two hundred miles and over a year removed from my primary involvement with the organization, I still frequently exchange emails with staff members and mentors and my investment with the community remains, including hope of returning as some form of staff and giving back, providing the kind of support to HS girls that was given to me.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Just starting out as a new mentor this year and got to meet up with the group of mentees today--what an amazing group of young ladies. I'm so excited to be a part of an organization promoting women's voices from an early age. And I'm so impressed by what a thoughtful program the ladies who started this organization have put together. The expectations are realistic, positive, and encouraging, both for the mentees and the mentors. I fully anticipate that I'll end up learning as much or more than my mentee. Here's the adventures ahead and those that this organization has already launched people on for the past 12 years.

12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

MY HUSBAND AND I TRAVELED 50 MILES BY TRAIN TO ATTEND A GIRLS WRITE NOW WINTER READING IN NYC.WE ARE SENIOR CITIZENS AND HAVE BEEN TO MANY PRESENTATIONS/PERFORMANCES OVER THE YEARS. THIS NIGHT OF READINGS WAS OUTSTANDING.IT BROUGHT TEARS TO OUR EYES AND WARMTH TO OUR SOUL. THESE YOUNG WOMEN ARE OUR HOPE FOR THE CONTINUATION OF THE WRITTEN WORD. THE PASSION AND LOVE THAT WAS CONVEYED IN THEIR WRITTEN EXPRESSIONS WERE VERY MOVING.WE SEND KUDOS TO MAYA NUSSBAUM WHO STARTED IT ALL.SHE HAS BEEN A DRIVING FORCE TO KEEP THIS WONDERFUL ORGANIZATION ALIVE AND WELL IN A TIME OF UNCERTAINTY FOR THE ARTS IN AMERICA. WE HOPE TO ATTEND MANY MORE GIRLS WRITE NOW EVENTS IN THE FUTURE.

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen GWN in action, and they are terrific. Their commitment to fostering the writing talents of young NYC girls results in often funny, often heartbreaking writings that any woman can relate to.

4

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined Girls Write Now as a mentor when I was working as an online journalist in Manhattan. We met monthly for group workshops covering different genres of writing and I also met up with my mentee on separate dates. This group was filled with passionate, committed professional women writers and the most awesome and inspirational young girls I've met in ages. Even though I live in London, I still try to keep up with Girls Write Now news and progress as I do believe this is an organisation that can change lives, and certainly shape futures. I consider my mentee Vera a friend for life.

4

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned for Girls Write Now in college, and I was so impressed by the way these girls took to the lessons that GWN offers. Today, I still go to hear the beautiful pieces the mentors and mentees write. It's moving. I love to see women come together and learn to express themselves. GWN isn't just a place to learn how to write; it's a place where these young women (and their mentors) learn more about themselves, cope with their own personal experiences, and grow as individuals -- not just as writers. I wish I had a GWN when I was a teen. I know that every girl who passes through will be a better, stronger, more beautiful person because of the experience GWN gave them.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the board of GWN after I saw a video of a young women break down crying before reading the work she had written at a GWN workshop. Her tears were not what motivated me to join GWN. I was moved by the dozen or so other young women who rushed from the audience to prop her up. They gathered in a huddle and then the other young women sat down and by the mircale of GWN, the original young woman found the courage to share her work. Thats what GWN is all about.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

GWN was a wonderfully supportive organization for my daughter. It helped her gain confidence in her writing. She formed a close bond with her mentor and had a great experience.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls Write Now (GWN) is a wonderful organization that offers substantial services to teen girls from underserved communities in NYC. They have a dedicated group of volunteers who help to make all of their programs great successes. As a volunteer advisory board member, I help GWN strategize about fundraising. In March 2009 I honored GWN at my birthday party to raise awareness of the organization and raise much needed donations.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

The Girls Write Now (GWN)is a wonderful program. My 16yr old daughter attended their 3 day writing program. She said it was an excellent opportunity and enjoyed it very much.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a mentor for a year and it was hands down one of the most rewarding experiences I've had. I forged a wonderful bond with my mentee and I watched her blossom as a writer and as a young women over the course of the program. Not only did I help her, but I found my own writing improved as well--i was truly inspired after every single workshop. GWN is an amazing organization doing amazing things and I hope it can find funding to thrive for years to come!

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

GWN is a phenomenal organization, and I am thrilled to be involved with the group. I started attending events with my sister a couple of years ago, and seeing how far these young women have come has been an incredibly impactful experience. I wish there was an organization like this when I was in high school! I love GWN so much that I have signed up to be on the Advisory Board, so I can help support the next generation of women writers!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a mentee when I was in HS and greatly helped by GWN and my mentor. They helped so much with more than just school but also with how I was doing and how I was growing as an individual. My experiences with them led me to also volunteering and helping others the way that I was helped when I was younger.

4

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since Girls Write Now came into my life two years ago, I have undergone a massive transformation. That shy, timid girl at the back of the class has become a feirce and powerful leader. I use my words to serve my country.

4

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I truly wish I had this organization in my life when I was in high school. Girls Write Now is a powerful, necessary program that is changing lives one word at a time.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to a number of readings and it is impressive how empowered the girls have become since being involved in the organization.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization that has had a positive impact upon many young women. I would volunteer as a mentor for this organization if I were eligible.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I mentored with Girls Write Now for three years and still have a relationship with my former mentees. Girls Write Now provided an amazing, supportive atmosphere to foster female friendships and creativity. It enriched my life and if I hadn't moved out of New York, I would still be involved. Thank you for everything!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a mentor with Girls Write Now for 3 years and love being part of such a smart, fun-loving, enthusiastic group of writers. The mentors are an inspiring group of professional writers, editors, and educators who find time in their busy lives to help show at-risk, aspiring teenage writers that they too can become published writers, eloquent speakers, and accomplished women. Many of the mentees are shy and unsure of their abilities in the beginning of the season, and yet at the end of the season are reading their poems, stories, even singing orginal verse! at public venues in New York City. The bravery of these teenage girls in inspiring, their bravery is fostered by the mentors--this is a true group effort at improving our community at a grassroots level and not letting girls go unnoticed.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Writing can be a solitary passion, but each season GWN offers its members a warm, rigorous and vibrant community of women writers, which encourages individual creativity and growth. Being a part of GWN is life-changing, for mentors and mentees alike. The program is so thoughtfully designed and well-administered, the staff makes it look easy, though of course it is anything but!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've mentored with Girls Write Now for a year now, and it's been one of the best experiences of my life. The program is so encouraging, and the girls gain so much self-confidence in their writing. I still can't believe that 100% of GWN alumnae go on to attend college -- that alone should speak to the power of the GWN community! My mentee and I are very close and continued to work together on her writing even in the summer "off-season," and look forward to working together again next year.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just started mentoring for GWN and am blown away by the incredible women I've already met through the program. It's seamlessly organized without feeling corporate, and incredibly inspirational without feeling too rah rah. I'm so pleased and honored to be a part of something so special.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a new mentor with Girls Write Now this year... After an engaging orientation program last week, I'm eager to start working with such intelligent and creative women to help cultivate teenage girls' love of writing. The orientation program was extremely well organized. I can only imagine what the rest of the year will offer.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with GWN for three years (two as a mentor), and it has been one the most fulfilling experiences. The group of mentors and mentees is more impressive every year, and I am inspired by the girls, who are talented and driven, to become a better writer and a better person. The pair sessions are great ways to nurture the pair relationship while working on writing and overall issues that the girls face (college, self-esteem, etc), and the monthly workshops bring together all of the pairs (I challenge anyone to say they are not inspired after these). Not only are we helping girls, but we are creating a community for like-minded ladies to come together.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mentor Training was an amazing experience, and if it is any indication of the rest of the year, I'm thrilled beyond measure. I went home and read all of the mentor and staff bios from our Training Handbook and was absolutely blown away by the talent, commitment, and dedication of each and every woman involved. I am honoured and humbled to be part of such a wonderful organization.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a mentor at Girls Write Now, and I have to say that getting involved with GWN is hands-down one of the best, most rewarding experiences of my life. To see these young girls begin to find their own voice and develop strong senses of self is amazing. Go GWN!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just finished my mentor training for Girls Write Now. Every woman I met was incredibly inspiring and thrilled to be part of this group. I can't wait to get started this season!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a third-year volunteer mentor with Girls Write Now and this organization is so wonderful that I see no end in sight. I still keep in touch with my previous mentee, even though she is away at a top-notch college. I'm so proud of her and the work we did in Girls Write Now.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just went through training as a mentor with Girls Write Now, and I was blown away. This is clearly an extraordinary organization -- they are well-organized, passionate, persistent, and engaged in work that has the power to transform the lives of everyone lucky enough to be involved with them. The training session was comprehensive, insightful, professional and entirely inspiring. I'm looking forward eagerly to the coming year.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In the universe of non-profit youth programs, GWN is a sensation. Its singular mission, highly efficient structure, and thoughtful/ambitious calendar are a model for any organization. After one year of volunteering, I feel such a powerful commitment to GWN -- not just to my awesome mentee but to the whole group & organization. This non-profit makes public service an empowering and invigorating experience.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Girls Write Now was the most formative and inspiring program I was ever a part of in my teenage years. My writing improved tremendously, and the community I had the opportunity to be a part of at GWN made me feel safe to take creative risks on the page. It's more than just a creative writing program, though. The emotional support you get from your mentor and from the rest of the community is so helpful, I don't know how I would have managed at times without it. The GWN community is a group of people who believe in you unconditionally, and it really meant a lot to me to have that, especially when it felt as though no one else cared. The only thing I would change would be the funding. If Girls Write Now had a bigger endowment, they could expand and make a difference in even more lives. :)

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Mentoring Partnership of New York is proud to have Girls Write Now(GWN) as a member of their partnership of mentoring programs. Being a member means that your programs operates using "best practices". We have seen the hard work and dedication that GWM puts into their program and the success that the youth they serve have achieved. They provide all the appropriate supervision and training to their mentors allowing their organization to be an excellent place for volunteers.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is the oragnization that I wanted/needed as a girl--we are all lucky to have found it. The level of excellence is so high--from the workshops to the special events to the annual anthology. The readings never fail to make me laugh and cry.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough about this organization's power to transform everyone who comes into contact with it: whether it's an audience member inspired by a girl's confidence, poise, and creativity at a reading; a mentor who's invigorated by working one-to-one with a teen girl and by connecting to her own craft and to the wider community of women writers; or one of our brave, bold, mentees, who are getting a glimpse of and taking a stake in their own future as women whose words impact every aspect of our world.

5

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Girls Write Now since 2004 and it has influenced the ways in which I think about girls' education, arts education, writing communities, and grassroots fundraising.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GWN is an incredible resource to the girls of NYC. Through this organization, I got to work closely with my mentee, participate in outstanding writing workshops organized by my fellow mentors, and become part of an incredible community of talented and dedicated writers.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

I first heard about girlswritenow from a friend. Interested in seeing what they do I attended my first reading over 1 year ago. Two memories particularly standout from that reading: 1) One of the girls reading a very personal story started to cry and have difficulty finishing reading. Spontaneously a couple of senior girls in the group (ones that had previously read that day) joined the struggling girl on the stage. They spoke quietly to hear while they had their supportive arms wrapped around her. With their support, the struggling reader was able to complete her piece. I felt this clearly symbolized what this organization was about...not only female mentorship from professional writers but creating a sense of family and support within a group from very ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds. The organization had clearly fostered this in addition to developing up and coming professional writers. 2) There had been a discussion behind me about how amazing it was that every girl that had completed the program went on to college/advanced education. I found that impossible to believe given all the additional personal challenges that many of these girls encountered daily. But it was in fact true. These experiences along with the wonderfully creative and high quality work that the organization creates defines girlswritenow making it a model nonprofit. I've since remained involved and try to help such a wonderful organization anyway that I can.

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

Girls Write Now does an incredible job of empowering young women to develop their writing skills, use their authentic voices, and record their real experiences. And it's not just the young women that are inspired and strengthened--it's also the mentors. Professional writers who work with these inspiring NYC girls are re-invigorated in their own work. The Girls Write Now community is boisterous, productive, loving, and fierce.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The committment and energy that the mentees, the mentors, and the volunteers (not to mention the completely dedicate staff) put in to this organization seems endless. I have been a volunteer for two years, and I've met phenomenal writers with voices that sing! It is a well organized and run group with love and dedication at the center of all that is done together as a community!

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What an outstanding organization! I attended some readings and have contributed financially because my daughter is a mentor. I was so moved by what I saw and heard at last year's Winter Reading, and my daughter's mentee is such an amazing young woman.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I can't say enough about how much Girls Write Now meant to me. I learned so much about myself as a writer and a person. I gained so much confidence in my writing ability and I found a great friend in my mentor. I am still in contact with her now and consider her one of my best friends. At Girls Write Now we have the opportunity to meet women in many different areas of writing such as novelists, journalists , playwrights and songwriters. It was a great experience that led me to choose writing as my major in college. I love Girls Write Now very much.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

I absolutely loved this program. Writing is one of my passions and this program has given me the opportunity to share my passion with people who were also in love with writing. The class was invigorating and fun. I loved the way that fun and learning were intertwined.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From the first day of orientation to the last reading, I've been impressed by not only the quality of the writing in this group of inspiring young women and mentors, but by the quality of the people. The sense of support extends beyond the mentor/mentee duos and into the group as a whole; I've made several new friends among the volunteers, and, as with any well-run organization, gotten just as much back from my participation as I've gotten (if not more so).

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am very pleased to be associated with GWN because of the awesome work they do. Their accomplishments and value to society is evident in the quality of young girls that participate and graduate the program. When I first came across the organization, I was impressed by their noble cause and creative (and effective) methods but their true impact was impressed upon me at the first Reading I volunteered at in the Spring. I was completely blown away by the confidence and talent that the organization had helped to bring to the surface in the diverse readers. I was equally amazed at the synergy between the mentors/mentees despite their vast differences. Keep on keeping on, GWN!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GWN is a group of caring individuals with tremendous passion for helping girls succeed. I have worked with this organization for a number of years as a volunteer and have been consistently impressed by the quality of the writing curriculum, the capacity of the staff and board members and their commitment to building up an infrastructure for the sustainability of this effective program.

6

Board Member

Rating: 4

I was introduced to Girls Write Now this summer through their college essay writing workshops. It was a great and insightful experience. It gave me a good start for this year which is my senior year. The staff was great and they provided me with wonderful writing tools and strategies for writing a college essay. I hope to have another opportunity to work with Girls Write Now. It is a great program. Shanice Pressley

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Girls Write Now this spring. This became a chosen topic for a Making A Difference featured story, on NBC's Nightly News, with Brian Williams. The organzation is one of the best run programmes I have seen, for mentees to learn creative writing. By virtue of it's structure and focus, it creates an environment of caring and willingness to teach and inspire young women. With their positive approach, not only so the women learn, but they gain self confidence. Girls Write Now has a diverse group of mentors, from authors, to screenplay writers and professionals in the writing field. They provide the tools and share the wealth of knowledge for young women to grow and learn in a safe environment. The younger mentees are the next generation and Girls Write Now encourages then to follow their dreams.

4

Client Served

Rating: 4

Girls Write Now has allowed me to get bprepared for college with one of their college based workshops. The showed me how to write a college essay an make it interesting to the admissions office

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I was little, I wrote one story after another. However, I did not have classes in school that would help me improve my skills. Then everything started when I joined Girls Write Now in 10th grade. Not only did I gain useful critic from my mentors over the last three years, I've also gained a family of strong girls and women who would listen to whatever problems I had. If not for Girls Write Now, I would not have had the chance to gain recognition in contests like the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards either. This is an awesome program that have strongly supported me in doing what I've always wanted, and it is still continuing to do so for many other girls. My time spent in this program will never be forgotten.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls Write Now has given me the opportunity to work with young ladies who have an expressed interest in writing. Their enthusiasm and passion for the written word has reinvigorated my own love of text and prose, what power it holds and effect it has on people. Watching these young ladies grow and develop of one or more school years is exciting and rewarding to me personally, and I believe for our extended community as well.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I jumped at the chance to be part of this organization as soon as I discovered it, and it has far exceeded my expectations. There is no other organization that does what Girls Write Now does: creates a community based on a shared love of writing between established, adult women and teenage girls who don't have many other outlets. In my years as a mentor, I've watched girls blossom as a result of the professional yet candid and friendly relationships we form; & I've seen girls produce creative works that rival many published pieces. Girls Write Now started as a brilliant, one-of-a-kind idea, and it's been executed so well it's now a part of the fabric of New York City.