I Do Good in This Neighborhood
I am a mentor with Girls Write Now. GWN pairs professional women writers with high school girls from underserved or underprivileged areas and schools who have an interest in, and passion for, writing.
I meet with my mentee--a vibrant, talented sophomore who attends Midwood High--once a week for an hour. We also attend once monthly workshops and I commit to being on at least one committee (this year I was on the Poetry Workshop Planning Committee) during the school year. But the heart of my commitment is the weekly meeting with my mentee. During these meetings my mentee and I discuss everything about writing (and whatever else is on her mind). We also use the time to get some writing done, and for me to give my mentee feedback on her work; often, these meetings are the only time during her very busy week that she can devote to writing.
When I was a teenager, it was a writing mentor who turned my life around, who got me to take myself seriously as a writer (and a person) and who set me on a path that led to a life as a writer. When I herd about GWN, I immediately knew it was the perfect fit for me, knowing what a mentor can mean to a teenager.
My favorite moment as a mentor so far has been the first time I sat with my mentee and listened to her read her poetry to me. She was nervous, and I was excited to get to know her and her work. Her poems are terrific, and I told her so. And the proud look in her eyes is something I will never forget.
Because you will get so much more out of it then you put into it. I've only been at this short while, my heart has already swelled from the joy of using my time and skill set to help someone else. Because the amount of time it takes could be equal to the time it takes to watch a television show and that time will be infinitely more fulfilling. Because there have been times in most of our lives when we needed guidance or a helping hand and someone was there for us.