May 8, 2007

Write Around Portland (917 SW Oak St.)

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Write Around Portland gets my vote for the best non-profit in Portland. Of course I'm biased. When I first heard about them, from the mouth of my favorite author, I was excited that volunteering could include something as exciting and freeing as creative writing.

Write Around Portland provides free creative writing workshops, in a safe environment, to low-income, socially isolated individuals and others who would not ordinarily have the resources to participate in a writing workshop. At the end of the 10-week workshops, an anthology is published that includes writing from each one of the participants. It is sold in local bookstores around the city. When an anthology is published, Write Around Portland holds a public reading, where the participants read from their work.

Write Around Portland participants have gone on to win scholarships, publish magazine articles and poetry, and even facilitate other Write Around Portland workshops. This is a true marker of successful program.

I started volunteering back in 2003, tabling events, providing childcare at the workshops and then moving on to facilitate workshops for incarcerated women and survivors of domestic violence. I love this organization. It has changed my life in so many ways. The people I have met, the stories I have heard - all essential in creating the person that I want to become.

I am starting another workshop in a few weeks and am very excited to have another character-defining experience. If there is one organization in Portland that deserves your time and money, this is it. If you want to find out what Write Around Portland is all about, you should attend the upcoming reading:

Anthology Release & Reading May 24

Mark your calendar now for the release of our newest anthology, Called to Speak Stories, featuring spring workshop participants reading their works. Thursday, May 24th from 6:30 - 8:30 at the First Congregational Church at SW Park & Madison in downtown Portland.

The reading is free, ADA-accessible and everyone is welcome. Light snacks will be provided. We will be collecting donations of new journals for writers in our summer workshops, and anthologies will be available for purchase.

Write Around Portland's motto is: Respect. Writing. Community. Three things that everyone can do and participate in, no matter who you are. You are invited!