“When the book was finally finished, and the students presented their stories at Bookshop Santa Cruz, we were completely amazed by the great work completed by all.”
– Rosa Lona, Language Arts Instructor E.A. Hall Middle School
The Young Writers Program Mission:
The Young Writers Program is dedicated to Santa Cruz County students in grades 4-12 and their teachers in building students’ writing skills and confidence.
The Young Writers Program is grassroots and we’re passionate about writing. What began in the fall of 2012 with an In-Classroom Program has expanded into three more programs: a Dedicated Writing Room Program, the Hablamos Juntos project, and an After-School Writing Center—The Word Lab– at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.
The In-Classroom Project
Community volunteers work as writing assistants in grade 4-12 public school classrooms to assist students on teacher-initiated writing projects. Volunteers generally work in groups of four to five students twice a week, for an hour at a time. Projects typically last six to eight weeks.
The Hablamos Juntos Project
The Hablamos Juntos Project is a collaboration between the Young Writers Program and Museo Eduardo Carrillo, an online museum featuring the work of contemporary California Latinx artists. Samples of the artists’ work are provided to students in a local middle or high school classroom. Students then use the artwork to inspire their personal narrative. A Hablamos Juntos Curriculum is in the works and will be available for teachers to download.
The Dedicated Writing Room Project
The Young Writers Program is excited to have a Dedicated Writing Room at Branciforte Middle School in Santa Cruz. Students are able to work on their writing in a relaxed, quiet environment. Volunteers work in the same capacity as those in the In-Classroom Program.
The Word Lab
The Word Lab is an after-school writing center at the Museum of Art & History in downtown Santa Cruz that serves local public school classrooms. Open Monday through Wednesday from 3 – 5pm with a specific curriculum for young writers, volunteers assist students on original and engaging writing projects.
Young Writers Program volunteers attend trainings and build a special kind of camaraderie. All trainings are free. Volunteers must be fingerprinted and provide proof of a negative TB test before working in the Word Lab.
All of the Young Writers Program projects have as their goal some type of public sharing of student writing, either a public reading or a professionally designed and produced book. In addition, each spring students from all our projects self-select to read a portion of their work at our Year-End Reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz.
This is satisfying stuff! If you are interested in becoming a Writing Project Assistant in the Word Lab, please be in touch. We’d love to hear from you!