Mighty Writers, opening a location in Camden

By ROI-NJ Staff
Camden | Jul 10, 2018 at 6:30 am
Nonprofit Profile

Origin 

Founded by former journalist Tim Whitaker in 2009 on the premise that teaching kids to write is the most direct way to confront the literacy crisis in the Philadelphia area — and, now, Camden as well.

Mission

The mission of Mighty Writers’ Camden location will be to teach Camden kids ages 7 to 17 to think and write with clarity so they can achieve success at school, at work and in life.

Goals

Our goal has always been to reach as many kids as possible with the power of writing. In addition to opening a new program in Camden at the Nick Virgilio Writers House, we’ll also be looking to add our programs to two new Philadelphia rec centers in the coming year.

Programs

We teach kids to write through daily after-school writing academies; workshops, nights and weekends; and teen scholar writing classes. We also offer SAT Prep and college initiative programs for our high school populations. We are launching in Camden with several one-day summer writing workshops for neighborhood students. In September, when the school year begins, the Camden location will begin offering Mighty Writers’ signature Academy program and eventually launch evening and weekend classes, as well. Classes will be free, open to all students, and cover a wide variety of subjects. We will also be looking to offer bilingual classes for Camden’s large Spanish-speaking community.

Achievements

In the past few months, we’ve begun bringing Mighty Writers into recreation centers for kids that can’t travel to one of our sites. We recently launched an early childhood writing program for 3-to-5-year-olds called Mighty Toddlers that was a hit in our communities right from the start. We’ve also announced plans for our first literacy festival (to take place the last weekend of September 2018). Called MightyFest2018, the festival is designed for writers of all ages from Philadelphia, Camden and beyond.

Fundraising

We raise money through grants from foundations, individual donations and corporate support. We have two major appeal seasons a year.

Benefactors

  • Townsend Press, West Berlin;
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts; 
  • Lenfest Foundation;
  • The Philadelphia Foundation;
  • Knight Foundation;
  • Barra Foundation;
  • Hamilton Foundation;
  • Dranoff Properties;
  • Fels Foundation;
  • And others.

Finally

Over the last decade or so, writing has taken a back seat in schools, well behind math, science and standardized testing. We believe you can’t be much of a science or math whiz if you can’t articulate and summarize your findings clearly. When kids learn to think clearly and write with clarity, their self-esteem soars and future success looms into view. There is no greater tool for future success than the ability to write.

Board members

  • Sam Stanton, chair; Anthropologie
  • James Kindya, treasurer; consultant, The North Highland Co.
  • Shelli Thomas, secretary; operations manager, University of Pennsylvania Health System
  • Jennifer Chapple Ingram, marketing specialist
  • Dr. Jack Downes, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Amy Dudash, associate, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Michael Epstein, senior litigation counsel, Tyco International
  • Lyn GroomeCentra Comprehensive Psychotherapy
  • Michelle Histand, innovation director, Independence Blue Cross
  • Ayana Lewis, partnerships manager, School District of Philadelphia
  • Robin Mann,volunteer
  • Mindy Mazer, human resources executive, AMETEK
  • Joseph McEwen, vice president, artists and repertoire, Concord Music Group
  • Melissa Stonberg, director of content management, Glenmede Trust
  • Tim Whitaker, executive director, Mighty Writers
  • James Wright, director, community, economic and real estate development, People’s Emergency Center

Conversation Starter

Reach Tim Whitaker, executive director, Mighty Writers, at: twhitaker@mightywriters.org or 484-716-0830.

In Brief

Where: Six locations in diverse Philadelphia neighborhoods, and opening its first New Jersey location this month in Camden
Key members: Tim Whitaker, executive director; Rachel Loeper, education director; Naomi Levecchia, development director

ROI-NJ Staff | editorial@roi-nj.com | @ROINJNews