Katie Gemmill + Seanna Viechweg7 copy

Mentors and Mentees

“My mentor Katie may be small, but she has a big personality. As a person, I consider myself reserved, as I cannot always find the courage to speak up. Katie, experienced and daring as she is, could be considered the opposite of me. Despite our similarities (we’re both bookworms!), I am grateful for this difference, as her voice has inpired me to raise my own.”– Seanna Viechweg, mentee

Women passionate about writing are the cornerstone of Girls Write Now. Our mentees grow as the rigor and flexibility of our structure turns a one-to-one relationship into a two-way street.

GWN Mentoring Program Demographics

Who are our girls? Infographic by Christina Beard

Our mentees are stunningly diverse teen girls from all five boroughs of New York City: 90% are girls of color; 20% are immigrants. Of all the girls we serve, 66% are living at or below the poverty level, and 90% are categorized as high-need.

Our mentors are professional women writers who stand as shining, real-life examples of exactly who their girls can be as women and as writers. They hail from across the greater New York metro area, and 40% are women of color.

With their mentors, our mentees tackle everything from adapting their writing for the digital age to applying for college. Over time, they become mentors to each other, exchanging new skills, demonstrating creative leadership in our workshops, winning national writing awards, and engaging more fully with their own communities.


Meet the Community

Mentees and mentors become crit partners, collaborators, and lifelong friends. Learn more about a few of our mentors and mentees in their own words:

Jessica Hough + Tyra Williams3

Tyra Williams and Jessica Hough

Tyra has worked in a variety of media this year to explore the way that form affects the message of a piece of writing. Her work has largely explored issues of identity, especially through relationships with family, friends and oneself… Her final video project, a documentary on the meaning of family and its multiplicity of forms, continues this exploration of the way that identity is structured through experience and relationships, told through a personal narrative combining documentary and essay-film aesthetics. I am so honored to have worked with her this year.
– Jessica Hough, Mentor


Shirleyka Hector and Shara Zaval

Shara and I meet at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Union Square on a weekly basis. There we talk and write. Sometimes we write using prompts but when we want to be more creative and go several steps forward, we write in different genres; from flash fiction to humorous writing. Shara and I have an amazing relationship. Without her, I do not know where I’d be as a teenager and a writer. She always gives me great advice when I’m in need. I love her because she is awesome!

– Shirleyka Hector, Mentee


Sharon Young and Veronica Black


Sharon is a very ambitious young lady, and over the past two years, I have witnessed her creative work come to life through the camera lens. She not only wrote the content and collected photography for her final piece for the 2014 Girls Write Now digital showcase, but also created her very first website. Since the showcase she has experimented with digital photo collage and blogging. As her confidence has grown with photography, she has ventured out into film-making, creating her first film over winter break. As she explores more with her iPhone camera lens she will capture a very special world.

-Veronica Black, Mentor


Alanna Schubach + Muhua Li3


Muhua Li and Alanna Schubach

What happens if two writing-lovers meet? They will write together and talk about each other’s work. What happens if two eating-lovers meet? I think there is a good chance to improve the Global Per Capita Consumed Animal Rate. Alanna and I are like a perfect pair that mixes both of the two characteristics above. During the year, we try new food together, and write after we eat. I believe food is the best thing that can bring two people together. Maybe you can smell the food when you read our pieces!

– Muhua Li, Mentee