I had an amazing opportunity to work with the loveliest nonprofit this summer called "Read and Write Kalamazoo" or 'RAWK.' This organization is all about supporting literacy and creativity in the community of Kalamazoo. Their slogan that is printed on adorable shirts and buttons (that you can buy on their website...shameless plug) is "Use your words."
The ability to use our words to create or to portray a message is something that is typically taken for granted. I was reminded through RAWK, that our words have infinite power to create the change we desire. It is both a little daunting and awesomely inspiring that each word that we write or speak has the ability to affect someone else in ways that we may never even know.
RAWK inspires through its workshops and amplifies the voices of Kalamazoo's youth through the publication of their poems, stories and plays. Allowing kids the platform to express themselves and learn that their ideas are valid and even further, that their voices matter and should be heard, is vital to their confidence and growth as writers.
During the week of workshops that I was able to volunteer at, I felt so motivated to create just because I was surrounded by such an abundance of creative energy and imagination. It is so important to allow students an environment where the feel safe and confident sharing their work-- and that's exactly what RAWK does.
I have never been so inspired than when I sat in on RAWK's book reading event of this summer's youth anthology: "Bookworms, Banana Peels and Other Ideaing." Hearing those fantastically talented writers and storytellers read their pieces with such passion and character was so refreshing. By the end of the event, I felt so connected to all of these talented individuals that were so brave and willing to share their work.
And that is what it's all about, being able to inspire and be inspired by the work we create. There is such power behind reading and writing--power that is not matchable by any other actions. So, together we embark on a journey to grow every day as creators and to continue to be influenced by the creators around us.