If we could dream up an ideal after-school program for our childhood selves, it would be this incredible writing workshop for girls. Offered by Mighty Writers, a free, Philadelphia-based after-school writing program for children ages seven through 17, the “Girl Power Voices” workshop teaches the work of rad authors like Margaret Atwood, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Maya Angelou, introducing teen girls to complex issues and helping them to find their own voices.
Are you screaming “OMG sign me up?” Because we are!
“Girl Power Voices” is part of the organization’s broader “Girl Power” program, which offerers empowering workshops for girls on poetry, theatre, and more. In “Girl Power Voices,” students begin the four-week-long workshop by reading poetry, essays, and speeches by women leaders, and by the end, the girls have found their own way to explore issues that impact them, such as gender inequality, stereotyping, and the lack of opportunities for girls to thrive.
From there, they begin to articulate — in writing and live speeches — how they wish to be portrayed in school, in their homes and communities, and in society at large. They also discuss other women as role models, and build positive, proactive relationships with “Girl Power” peers.
“In Mighty Writers workshops, young women are exposed to new ideas, new friends, and new role models [through] both our instructors and the authors on the page,” Mighty Writers education director Rachel Loeper told HelloGiggles. She added,
“Learning to think and write with clarity boosts self-esteem and makes confidence soar. When young women can express themselves clearly, they gain more confidence in their ideas and more comfort in voicing their opinions.”
According to Loeper, when Mighty Writers opened its doors in 2009 and introduced the “Girl Power” program, organizers knew immediately that they had hit on something special. “Even the moms were excited,” said Loeper. Since that time, dozens of facilitators have worked with hundreds of girls in workshops ranging from “Girl Power Theater” to “Girl Talk” to a social action workshop called “He Named Me Malala.”
“Our favorite thing to see is the bonds among the young women from across Philadelphia who come back year after year,”said Loeper, “supporting one another inside Mighty Writers and beyond.”