Since 2017, Uptown Stories has offered a unique summer semester of creative writing workshops. These mini-camps have met five days a week, four hours a day, and were full of field trips, popsicles, contact games, picnics, and weekly readings at Word Up Community Bookshop. This summer, we can’t do any of that, and as a parent and a teacher, I can tell you that it truly sucks. There is a special brand of magic that only happens when kids write and draw together in real life, and what we can offer you will simply not be the same.
However, one of the best things we can do for children right now is provide a space where they can bear witness to what they are experiencing. In our small-group classes, we can help them connect with their friends and their trusted teachers. They can document their honest feelings and thoughts, dreams and fears, and make meaning out of it.
This summer, we are offering some of our most popular workshops online, like Girls Rising, Elements of Fiction, and POW! Writing and Drawing Comics, in addition to new offerings like Express Yourself, Poetry in Miniature and Your Song. Workshops will meet virtually on Zoom for two-hours-a-day, Monday thru Friday, for two-weeks sessions. There will be virtual guest speakers, field trips, dance parties, games, and Zoom readings in partnership with Word Up Community Bookshop. As always, we will publish the cumulative work from Summer 2020 in a print anthology so every student leaves our program a published writer. Online learning may not be what any of us would prefer, and it’s not what we’re used to, but it is a hand-hold on this rock face of uncertainty and loneliness.
This is where things get a bit sticky — in order to fulfill our promise of pay-what-you-can tuition, we need some help. Our uptown community has been hit hard by COVID, and our families are not able to afford as much as they used to. Based on the tuition we’ve received this spring, we’re anticipating a major shortfall this summer.
I know many of you are struggling, but if you have the means to contribute, whatever the amount, your dollars will go twice as far. For the month of June, every dollar you give will be matched by one of our generous trustees, up to $5,000. Your gift will help cover the cost of our program for those families who cannot afford full tuition; help pay our exceptional teachers and our shoe-string administrative staff; and help defray our increasing software costs.
While Summer 2020 will be unlike any other we've known, we believe it can still be a time of imagination, play, connection, and beauty. Won’t you please help us? Together, we can make a huge difference for uptown kids and their families.
With love and gratitude,
Kate Reuther, Founder and Executive Director
PS: The recent CARES ACT expands charitable giving to include a new non-itemized deduction for gifts up to $300.
More information about Uptown Stories:
At Uptown Stories, our mission is to inspire kids to discover and develop their inner voices in a diverse community of writers. Based in Washington Heights, we offer after-school, weekend, and summer creative writing workshops for children ages 7-17, led by rock-star teachers, who are also professional authors and artists. To ensure our program is accessible to our ethnically and economically diverse community, our tuition is “pay-what-you-can.” Uptown Stories creates an exciting, challenging, and supportive community in which young authors from all backgrounds thrive.