Who’s heard of the program “Write Your Life”? I didn’t have a clue it existed until I came across this article.
Interestingly enough, it is an instructional program for at-risk teen girls, teaching them how to cope with life and their struggles. Seems like any old youth development program, right? Wrong. The program gives girls who have experienced broken homes or drug abuse a chance to work with mentors, and learn how to express themselves through writing. The girls have a 10 week period where they learn how to write down their feelings in a safe and encouraging environment. In the end, the girls are able to trust their female mentors as they are provided with the encouragement to do more for themselves.
As much as I would have liked this program to be co-ed, I find the outlet the program has chosen to be truly inspiring. The program has found the value in writing that some of us have known all along. For girls AND boys, struggling with difficult situations, writing is a way to get out everything without hurting yourself or others. While some people think writing isn’t difficult or a worthwhile career, to us it is the most fulfilling.
Writing demands us to confront our biggest fears and the flaws of the world around us in order to document it. We don’t just think up a cool story out of nowhere. Most, if not all of the time, writing comes from the author’s own heart. It is the inner struggle the writer has had to overcome. That ability to overcome those fears comes from writing it down. You can hide your fears in the back of your mind, but once it’s on paper you and everyone that reads it has to face it.
Like a diary that can be therapeutic in relieving you from restless thoughts, writing in general can help build a better you. It teaches you to analyze things from different perspectives (as a writer and reader), and demands of you to sacrifice your blood, sweat, and tears (sometimes) to create a story that people can relate. As a writer, you become more sensitive to the world around you. You may not notice it at first, but sometimes you can perceive life better than the people living it.
Now, these girls want to be lawyers and youth leaders, but the development is the same. They learn to express themselves and what is important to them, so that they can move on to bigger, better parts of their lives. It is admirable for the mentors and volunteers of this program to understand the value writing has in life, just as writer do. It is imperative to understand the complex life we humans live. It is even more important in a world of faceless interactions and people who don’t trust one another to use writing as a way of expression. Not everyone is cut out to be a writer, but that is understandable. But everyone can use writing as a way to understand their own thoughts and their own life in an intimate way.