Monday, October 5, 2009

Opportunity for writers to help at-risk kids

This comes from a friend of Redwood Writers in Mendocino County:

When Luis Rodriguez spoke during our recent Mendocino Coast Writers Conference about using art to help young people turn away from drugs and gangs, he unleashed a burst of creativity among organizations here on the coast who work with at-risk youth. Former MCWC co-director Ginny Rorby is representing MCWC on a committee made up of Safe Passage, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Coalition for Gang Awareness and Prevention, the Fort Bragg Police Dept., the Noyo School, and the Youth Project.

Ginny says: "While Luis was talking, I kept thinking about Art Explorers here in Fort Bragg and the site they created for the mentally challenged in this community to express themselves through their art. Surely, with all the artists, writers, woodworkers and teachers in this area, we could create a similar venue for kids at risk. I was also blown away by Christina Perez's powerful performance at the conference closing dinner. I wanted to start by getting her back and in front of kids who need to hear her."

We're making that happen. Ginny, the Noyo School and Youth Project are planning a poetry slam workshop featuring Christina and another poet from Berkeley. The hitch, of course, is the cost.

If you were excited and inspired by what Luis Rodriguez had to say, we're asking you to become involved. Putting on the poetry slam workshop will cost about six hundred dollars, money the participating agencies don't have due to the state budget crunch. If each of us could contribute a little, just $10, $20 or $30, we'd reach our goal quickly and at the same time feel that we're helping something beautiful and important to take shape.

If you can help, please send your check, made out to Mendocino Coast Writers Conference (or just MCWC), to:

PO Box 2087
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Write Community Outreach on the memo line of your check to make sure your contribution goes toward this project. Mendocino Coast Writers Conference is a nonprofit corporation. We expect to receive our 501(c)(3) designation by the end of this year, so your donation will be tax-deductible.

If you have questions, please email Ginny at, or phone her at 707-964-6810 or 707-969-7171.

As writers, we believe in the power of words to change lives. Let's celebrate and support those in our community who are working to put these beliefs into action.

Maureen Eppstein
Executive Co-director, Mendocino Coast Writers Conference

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