Before I ever got involved with [Writers in Baltimore Schools], I only thought that older, wiser, and in some cases whiter people could be writers and everything had to be so profound. Then I realized here that everybody's a writer because we all live lives that are somehow, someway relatable, and so, we all have stories to tell.
- Christian Pearson, First Year at Baltimore City Community College, nine years with WBS.
Ten Years in the Making
We can’t believe it’s been ten years! We want to thank YOU, our community – our students, our alumni, our partners, our supporters, our best cheerleaders – for helping us to build something transformative, durable, and deeply rooted in this amazing city. On this Giving Tuesday, in honor of our 10th anniversary, please consider supporting our 2020 goals and beyond -- $10,000 for 10 years! Your donations make this community and this work possible.
Our founding vision of empowering the voices of Baltimore city students through free programming that builds literacy and communication skills remains the core of what we do, but we have come to understand that it means so much more – that these skills are the gateway not just to greater academic achievement but to greater self-knowledge and a greater ability to meet and manage challenges. Ten years in, our alumni are starting to graduate from college. They care passionately about reading, listening, writing, and the spoken word. They own the hard, nuanced skills of editing, revision, close reading, and performance and are sincere, engaged communicators and creative problem-solvers. We are so proud of who they are and what they’ve accomplished.
Funny thing is – I can’t remember a time before WBS. WBS is that much a part of me.
- Terrell Kellam, ten years with WBS.
We’ve learned so much from our young writers over these ten years. Their talent and insight into and compassion for the world around them asks us to continually challenge ourselves as an organization meet their needs and capabilities and to create a community of support bound together by a common love for engaging through words. It is their voices and their vision that we turn to when we think about where we’ve come from and where we’re going. We’re so excited for what the next ten years will bring.
What does ten years of community support build?
· Current writing groups at eight Baltimore City schools and a record of engaging 950+ Baltimore City Public Schools students through 58 in-school courses, 56 after-school writing clubs, and 10 summer programs.
· The Baltimore Young Writers’ Summer Studio in its 8th year, an intensive week-long summer writing program, where middle and high school students spend the week exploring writing as means to greater expressive clarity and self-knowledge in a residential retreat setting.
· Alumni across the country who remain invested and involved with WBS as board members, workshop teachers, and through WBS programming aimed at meeting their needs through greater enrichment and connections to internships and job opportunities.
· Amplification of Baltimore student voices through hundreds of student publications – in our literary magazine Baltimore by Hand as well as in local and national newspapers such as the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore City Paper, and the Baltimore Beat – as well as through open mics and other performance opportunities.
· Partnerships with MICA and Johns Hopkins providing access to college classroom instruction through joint classes with Hopkins and illustrated publications, including an April 2019 billboard showcasing students’ poems near Penn Station.
What can your continued support help to grow?
· We’re building a brand new creative writing curriculum that draws on everything we’ve learned over the last ten years! Built on a core triad of craft, vision, and heart, this new concept will explicitly ask our students to think of themselves as authors and artists with the power to hone their writing, their problem-solving abilities, and their interpersonal skills.
· Young writers are everywhere, and we want to bring programs to their schools! Your gift will enable us to bring in-school and after-school writing programs to five more Baltimore middle schools.
· Our alumni make incredible teachers! Your gift will fund the training of and stipends for WBS alumni who return to work as creative writing instructors.
Please join us in celebrating our ten years by helping us build on our strong foundations. We are so grateful for your support. We couldn’t do this without you!
Learn more at www.writersinbaltimoreschools.org