Thursday, April 23, 2009

Around Town: Write on, WriteGirl!

A few months ago, my daughter said, "Mom, why don't you become a WriteGirl volunteer?" I soon found myself at an all day training class, surrounded by the most fascinating, hip, young women writers. We were trained on how to be a writing mentor to a teenage girl. I haven't yet been assigned a "mentee", but my column this week is a shameless plug for the program. The mission of WriteGirl is to empower girls through mentorship and self-expression.

Here's the column:

There’s a couple of million reasons why I admire my daughter, Rachel Torres. She is witty, wise and kind-hearted, but her volunteer work for WriteGirl is at the top of the list.

WriteGirl is a Los Angeles-based creative writing and mentoring program that pairs professional women writers with teen girls for weekly one-on-one mentoring and monthly creative writing workshops. The idea is simple, yet effective. The teens generally start the program by 9th grade. Many of the girls are considered to be “at risk” due to their economic and social settings; despite this, there is a one hundred percent college matriculation rate for girls who complete the program.

Our daughter, Rachel, is a mentor.

On May 3, WriteGirl will team with the Pasadena Playhouse to present a playwriting workshop. From 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., more than 65 teen girls from Pasadena and beyond, along with their mentors, will learn about monologue and scene-writing in sessions led by guest writers, including screenwriter Robin Swicord (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Secret Life of Bees”), producer Jennifer Crittenden (“The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Seinfeld”), Heather Hach (“Freaky Friday”), Martha Williamson and Jule Selbo (“Touched by an Angel”) and playwrights Laural Meade (“Animal Logic”) and Jennie Webb (“The Big Red Naugahyde Booth”).

That night, the girls’ workshop pieces will be performed on stage at the Pasadena Playhouse. This will be a public benefit, with the proceed supporting a new WriteGirl program for teens in Pasadena. advertisement

There will be a reception and silent auction on the plaza at 4:30 p.m., followed by the performance by professional actors, including Melora Hardin and Kate Flannery (“The Office”); Erin O’Brien and Sprague Graydon (“24”); Ellyn Stern, Dana Delany and James Denton (“Desperate Housewives”); JoBeth Williams (“Dexter”), Annie Potts (“Designing Women,” “Boston Legal”) and others. This will be followed by a post-cocktail reception at which guests can mingle with the actors, with catering by Nancy Silverton, Border Grill and Ciudad Catering and Silverlake Wine.

Oh, yeah. I’ll be there. With or without the Anonymous Source.

For more information, call WriteGirl at (323) 481-4699.

ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. E-mail her at La Cañada Valley Sun: La Cañada Flintridge, California April 23, 2009

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