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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Elsewhere, memoir-writing workshops strike a deeply personal chord. Run by a University of the Arts grad, “To the Beat” finds the rhythm in both writing and music. “Stage to Page” uses acting and group play to build stories.

On a larger scale, the Knight Arts Challenge has awarded $50,000 in matching funds for Mighty Writers to create a multimedia history of black radio in Philadelphia. “The goal is to have our own Internet station,” says Whitaker. 

Mighty Writers also offers SAT prep and sportswriting classes, a summertime “Garden Writing” club, “Girl Power Poetry” and other activities both hip and constructive. The writing is analyzed by a Web-based diagnostic program that reflects national guidelines. “We want to verify that they’re becoming better writers—and that we’re not kidding ourselves,” says Whitaker.

Meanwhile, feedback amplifies and encourages. “The tutors are still the secret sauce that makes it all work,” Loeper says.

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