Tim Whitaker’s Mighty Writers Program Empowers Philly Kids to Raise Their Voices
The Wynnewood resident and former editor of Philadelphia Weekly puts his writing experience to good use through a three-year old initiative that’s taking the city by storm.
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Naiesha writes on a board and awaits the verdict. A simple “good job” from her tutor sets off a mini-celebration. A little girl with big eyes and bountiful energy, Naiesha has spelled the words correctly and knows their meaning. They cling to her as surely as the barrette in her hair.
Young people study at nearby tables amid stuffed bookshelves and images of Superman, Spiderman and President Barack Obama on the wall. One bulletin board features youth poetry, another sports essays written by middle-schoolers about their role models. In an adjoining room, students pore over computer screens and click away.
At Mighty Writers’ homey clubhouse-cum-workshop at 15th and Christian streets in Philadelphia, the aim is to educate a new generation in an overwhelmingly digital age. “When you write with clarity, you think with clarity,” says director Tim Whitaker.