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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A creative writing teacher, Loeper had been living in Bucks County and had recently moved to Center City. Similarly inspired by Eggers’ efforts, she’d recruited about 150 volunteers and obtained a rent-free offer for use of the building at 15th and Christian. By this time, Whitaker had secured startup funds for Mighty Writers.

“The partnership made perfect sense,” says Loeper.

In spring 2009, the two of them reached out to schools, distributed leaflets at recreation centers, and scrubbed floors and windows to prepare for a summer opening. Mighty Writers has since grown to the building’s second floor, where college pennants and sketches of baseball heroes fill the walls of the main room, and a pool table converts to ping-pong or study space for the older kids. Several other smaller rooms on both floors are filled with computers.

At 641 South St., the organization has added a second site dedicated to comic-book writing taught by professional illustrators and creators. “Mightyvision” capitalizes on a medium that grabs kids. Backed by Colorado’s Sheila Fortune Foundation, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens and the Citizens Bank Foundation, the space includes a gallery of student work.

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