This blog post was written by Annie Reuter, a mentor in our Digital Media Mentoring Program, who attended our 2014 mentor training.
Girls Write Now is a program I’ve been searching for all my life and finally found in my mid-20s. I never had a mentor growing up that paved the way for me and my passion for writing and it is something I have always desired.
I discovered Girls Write Now three years ago and while my role is to guide my mentee through writing, she also guides me. I remembered this as I settled into the familiar office of Girls Write Now on the 18th floor during Mentor Training and started talking with first year mentors. While that room has been a haven for writing for me for three years now, I remembered how I, too, was nervous about entering the program.
Who would my mentee be? How will I help shape her love of writing? Where would we meet each week? All these fears were eventually squashed as I met fellow mentors with sound advice and my third-year mentee, who I felt was showing me the ropes of the program.
I was reminded of this as we went around the room during Mentor Training and introduced ourselves. Each mentor was well versed in writing and many returning mentors talked of the inspiration their own mentee has provided, like trying to write in different genres or crafting a screen play together. There were mentors who, like me, never had a mentor in their lives and others who pushed mentoring off so long that it took a medical scare to guide them in the direction of Girls Write Now.
After our introductions, we learned the program structure and were given interactive examples of how to handle various situations we might find ourselves in. Throughout it all, it became apparent that there is no right or wrong way to mentor. Most importantly, the program should create a fun environment to help develop a passion in writing. This can be done outside of the classroom by going on trips to a museum, galleries or even taking your mentee to a concert and then writing about it together.
As the training came to a close it was apparent that we all would be making a difference in our mentees lives and that they will make an impact on us as well. Most importantly, we must remain patient and compassionate while empowering her in our weekly pair sessions and workshops. Ultimately, 100% of the mentees in the Girls Write Now program will graduate high school and go onto college and our time with them can help foster a passion for writing into a lifetime career. This is something I know I wish I had growing up, but having found Girls Write Now later in life I am constantly reminded that being a writer is a career I am grateful for.