Each year, we send our graduating seniors out into the world with a polished portfolio, a sense of ownership over their creative voice, and a bank of memories. But the GWN story doesn’t end there. You can find our mentee-alums translating the next great poem in a university library, fighting for human rights, leading our Youth Board, or launching a children’s book series.
See what some of our stellar alumnae are up to!
Taysha Clark and Natalia Vargas-Caba are our new Youth Board Co-Chairs. Join us in congratulating them! We rely heavily on the support, creativity, and guidance from our Youth Board members to drive our curriculum and community building. They’re beyond impressive leaders!
Taysha is a rising junior at Barnard College, where she is majoring in Political Science and Human Rights with a minor in Sociology and Race and Ethnic Studies. Outside the classroom she’s a mentor, writer, and activist—not only serving as our Co-Chair, but also as the President and Founder of the Barnard College Civil Liberties Club. She’ll also be speaking about a girl’s right to write as a panelist during our International Day of the Girl celebration on October 10th. She says of Girls Write Now and her new position:
“Girls Write Now has been my family since my last year of high school. I never expected to be a part of such an important organization, community and am so grateful! I found out about GWN my junior year of high school when my English teacher, Ms. Cordil, hunted me down and told me to apply. My mentor, Mayuri, and the GWN community provided a safe space where I felt comfortable sharing myself completely and using my writing as a means to express my opinion on contentious issues. I wouldn’t have found my voice in my writing, the courage to speak my raw words, without GWN.
Girls Write Now sees potential in people, in young writers, that can sometimes be too easy to lose sight of. I will continue to challenge myself as a writer, a person, and have my words leave a legacy — and I attribute that to GWN, which has been one of the most amazing support systems, families, and communities I have ever been a part of.
I hope to give as much to GWN as it has given to me, and I’ll begin that with my dedication to the Youth Board and all of Girls Write Now’s endeavors. In short: I love GWN!”
Natalia is a 2007 mentee-alum who is still driven to raise the young voices of our female writers. Before serving as our Co-Chair, she was a Programs Intern with us. She is in her second year at Sarah Lawrence College where she studies Creative Writing and Spanish, and aims to become a translator for Spanish poetry and fiction. You may find Natalia hidden in the quiet, protective walls of an undiscovered cafe sipping hot green tea with Rimbaud’s words on hand. Reflecting on her GWN journey:
“In 2004, I joined Girls Write Now as an introverted teenager who never felt her place growing up in the Bronx. I attended an at-risk high school where I was an outcast among my peers, but I did not expect that I would bloom into the fearless writer I am now. Today, I am still involved to give back for all the wonderful opportunities Girls Write Now gave me, by working with the Youth Board developing workshops and fun events. Connecting with our current mentees brings me back to my time, and we join hands as a silenced minority bursting with knowledge. They are our words, and no one else can take them away.”
The Girls Write Now story extends further: our mentee-alums are publishing! Antonia Bruno recently completed a children’s book, co-written with her parents. Josie and the Fourth Grade Bike Brigade was inspired by the activism of the students of P.S. 321 in Brooklyn where my mom is assistant principal. The series aims to teach kids about global warming and encourage them to take action in their community. Children can continue learning about the environment through Josie’s blog, work toward change in their own communities through the “Josie Challenge,” and stay involved through upcoming launch events. Learn more about the series, order a copy, and join Josie as a crusader against climate change!
We asked Antonia about her time at Girls Write Now, and echoing Natalia and Taysha’s remarks, she shared this story with us:
“Girls Write Now came at a perfect time in my life. I was fourteen when I started, and self-doubt was beginning to shadow my love of writing. As a kid I had excitedly shown all my writing to my parents, and their approval was all I needed, but by high school I stopped showing my writing to anyone; I didn’t think it was good enough to share. Girls Write Now changed that for me. It was just the space that my teenage self needed. A space where everything I wrote was appreciated and respected. The feeling that I belonged with talented teenage writers and professional women made me take my own writing seriously, and propelled me over the hump of high school and all its power to kill a girls confidence.”
We’re so proud to continue to play a role in the lives of our alumnae, and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish next!