One of the motivations for the programmes I do, notably the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, is giving young people a voice…or helping them realize the power of their voice; it’s about beginning to articulate their place in the world and, as I continue to do in my own writing life, interpret and express the world around them through the creative arts. It doesn’t matter whether they aspire to be a writer or not, that capacity for self-awareness and self-expression, which I continue honing in my own life, will serve them whatever their path, and if I can have even a tiny tiny part in inspiring that then the development goals of the programmes would be fulfilled. If writers emerge from the programmes, gravy.
It’s why this bit of feedback posted to my public facebook page by the mom and aunt of two of the participants in the summer programme means so much.
“When she (my daughter) got in the Jhohadli Writing Project, I was more thrilled than she was. But, you know what? At the end of it all … she couldn’t stop talking about it. You have also helped her to realize the field she should be in as an artist and I am really happy for that. That’s all I need…and I love the work she produced while she was in the program. As for my niece, the program gave her confidence. She is usually quiet and withdrawn. But just being involved in the program she has now pushed herself to try new things like playing pan, trying out for netball because she realizes that there’s nothing wrong with trying something new. …I hope new and existing sponsors continue to support your Jhohadli Writing Project because of the emerging talent that will be realized by our Antiguan youth.”
It’s a fine line when blogging your experiences as a writer and all the related things, but I’m not sharing this to be self-serving but by way of encouragement to myself and to others. Because we all need it sometimes as we ask ourselves if what we’re doing matters. As you read this, I’m preparing for the new Wadadli Pen season, by turns excited and overwhelmed by the prospect but never doubting that it is a meaningful endeavour and one I’d like to find the resources to continue. The JSYWP, I’m less certain of, to be honest; for various reasons but notes like the one above encourage me to find a way to continue.
If you’re reading this and you wish to contribute to either of these programmes, don’t hesitate to contact me.
As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, are okay, lifting content (words, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.