Five Girls Inc. of Alameda County scholars were honored by The Simpson Literacy Project and their works published in The Simpsonistas, Volume 2, an acclaimed collection of essays and creative writing from new and established authors.
In partnership with The Simpson Literacy Project, Girls Inc. juniors work with UC Berkeley graduate students in an 8-week course designed to teach creative writing and storytelling. Girls are introduced to the craft of storytelling through poetry with an emphasis on language, metaphor, structure, and imagery. They move on to character and plot by writing their own stories drawn from their own lives. During the course of the program, they build confidence and competence with their writing abilities, and they craft impactful stories that reflect their unique lived experiences and aspirational goals.
In addition to learning to craft language and celebrate their own experiences in literature, they apply their skills to a very concrete outcome: writing their college application essays. The personal statement in college applications is often one of the most difficult for students to write, and the creative writing foundation the girls build directly translates into compelling and unique application essays.
When asked why personal storytelling is critical for our girls, Girls Inc. of Alameda County CEO Julayne Virgil talked about the importance of learning to weave a narrative for your own life. “When you write about your own experiences, you are learning how to frame and link them to create a narrative. And, once you can do that, you can construct a narrative for your desired future that you can follow. It’s an incredibly powerful tool to have in your skill set.”
At the end of the class, five Girls Inc. poems were selected for publication and our girls are now thrilled to be published authors. Two students, Vanessa S. and Alexis G., practiced their public speaking skills and presented their poems to an audience of over 150 at the Simpson Literacy Project Annual Celebration. Asked how our girls felt after their tuns to present, Jazmin Noble, Girls Inc. College Readiness Coordinator summed it up. “They were overjoyed! Their natural abilities were on full display, and they were full of passion and authenticity.”
To read all our girls’ poems, as well as literature from Joyce Carol Oates, Laila Lalami, and others, order The Simpsonistas, Volume 2, as well as last year’s The Simpsonistas, Volume 1.