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Profession: Graduate Student
Been a volunteer at MW since: 2013
What I do at MW: Workshop Instructor
Favorite authors: Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin and Amiri Baraka
Last book I read: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Book I liked as a kid: As a little kid, anything by Shel Silverstein. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. As a teen, Native Son by Richard Wright, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey.
Quote I like: “Writing for me is control. Nobody tells me what to do. It’s mine. It’s free. It’s a way of thinking. It’s pure knowledge.” – Toni Morrison
Gosh, speaking of volunteering, check this.
Mighty Writers has won a prestigious 2015 Edward R, Murrow Award for an audio documentary titled GOING BLACK: THE LEGACY OF PHILLY SOUL RADIO.
GOING BLACK: THE LEGACY OF PHILLY SOUL RADIO, a two-hour audio documentary that aired on public radio stations around the country in 2014 and again in 2015, recaptured the glory days (1950—1979) of Black radio in Philadelphia.
Profession: AmeriCorps Alumni, current barista at LaVa Cafe
Volunteer at MW since: March 2014
What I do at MW: I’m a mentor and have been meeting with Kintan, my mentee, once a week for over two years. We work on homework, writing assignments, projects, and we just talk about life. We try to have as many fun outings as possible and I’ve been to all her recitals and performances. Her family is family to me; she is an important person in my life.
Last book I read: The Afterlife and Other Stories by John Updike
Book I liked as a kid: All the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary
Quote I like: “I never set out to become anything in particular, only to live creatively and push the scope of my experience through adventure, through passion. Still all of it means something to me, same as most anyone with dreams.” — Mickey Smith
Hometown: Baltimore, Md
Profession: Marketing Manager
Been a volunteer at MW since: February 2016
What I do at MW: I have the good fortune to spend time with 5th grader and chess-kung fu champion Juan Sanchez.
Favorite author: Kurt Vonnegut
Last book I read: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Book I liked as a kid: The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Quote I like: “To infinity and beyond.”
Name: Marlie Derstine
Hometown: Perkasie, PA (Bucks County)
Profession: Full-time student at Temple University
Been a volunteer at MW since: September 2015
What I do at MW: I lead the “Rhyme Tyme with Dr. Seuss” Workshop at Mighty Writers North, 1801 Diamond St., on Tuesday nights, 6:30-7:30pm.
Favorite authors: Patricia McCormick and Khaled Hosseini
Last book I read: Half the Sky by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Book I liked as a kid: The Magic Treehouse series
Quote I like: “If your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough.” —Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia)
To donate books to one of our Mighty Writers locations, please contact our staff to arrange a drop-off time.
MW South, 1501 Christian St.
James Owk, firstname.lastname@example.org
MW West, 3861 Lancaster Ave.
Khalia Robinson, email@example.com
MW North, 1801 Diamond Street
Shamira O’Neal, firstname.lastname@example.org
MW El Futuro, 1025 S. 9th St.
Madeline Karp, email@example.com
Christian Precise (photo above) is a junior at Masterman High School in Philadelphia and a longtime student at Mighty Writers. The following story recently appeared in her school newspaper.
Walls adorned with blown-up images of comic book superheroes, shelves stuffed with novels from writers of all walks of life and rooms bursting at the seams with the energy of children eager to learn how to write: this is Mighty Writers– a free Philadelphia writing program that teaches kids to think clearly and write with clarity.
Executive Director Tim Whitaker had big plans to tackle the illiteracy issue in Philadelphia when he opened a first location in 2009. Mighty Writers has grown rapidly from its roots six years ago and continues to expand. Today the program boasts 2500 students and over 300 volunteers.