It's amazing how the world has a way of circling back around. About 5 or 6 years ago, when I had my first itchings toward being a writer, I became friendly with a woman who was a volunteer at the Women's Resource Center. She wrote for a newspaper and when I told her I wanted to write but was nervous about the interview process, she let me shadow her on an interview and showed me how to structure an article. She edited the very first newspaper article I ever wrote (about the Women's Resource Center) and we've stayed in touch on and off through the years, more off than on recently.
Still, I was delighted when she tracked me down a few weeks ago and asked if I would be a facilitator for the Foster Friends of North Carolina's first ever art and essay contest. On a weekend in February, I'll meet for two hours with kids ages 10-18 and lead them through some creative writing exercises and hopefully help them mold an essay for the contest. Volunteers from the Greensboro Jr. Women's League will be on hand to sit one-on-one with the kids and assist them, if needed.
They also want me to talk about being a writer and what it's like to write a book and the opportunities that can present when you learn to express yourself on the page. I think the day will be a lot of fun but I must admit I'm a little nervous. I'm going to work to find some fast, fun exercises that I hope will get the kids engaged and thinking/laughing. I just don't want them to be bored or feel overwhelmed. I'd love for them to keep trying the writing exercises even outside of the workshop.
I'm hitting up my writer friends for ideas, but if any of you reading this have any ideas on what might work with the kids, please don't hesitate to post here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I've got about a week and a half to figure out what I'll be using in my workshop.
If anyone wants to read more about the contest, log onto www.FFNC.org.