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Can Writing Make Real Change?

Can writing make real change? Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and Write the World teamed up to test how students can explore writing as changemaking…and the results were promising! 

Students who participated in the Write the World, Afterschool: Exploring Writing as Changemaking program during the spring of 2024 reported 28% improved confidence in revising their writing. And that confidence shone through in their willingness to share what they wrote with their community.

Making Writing a Community Event

On May 1, 2024 a cohort of students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston met up at the Josh Kraft Mattapan Teen Center to showcase their written works in front of a crowd of parents, mentors, and community members.


This showcase was the culmination of a six-week series of workshops that engaged over 30 students in meaningful reflection, writing, peer review, revision, and sharing their work with authentic audiences.

“As an instructor, the Write the World writing program has been incredibly beneficial for my teens. It has empowered them to explore their creativity, refine their writing skills, and express themselves with confidence. Write the World has cultivated a supportive writing community where students learn from each other and grow as writers.” -- Kyla Barbosa, Boys & Girls Club Boston, Mattapan Instructor

By exploring a range of genres—from personal narrative to poetry, opinion writing to fiction—rooted in themes of advocacy and activism, students had opportunities to identify and share their stories, connect with causes they care about, and develop communication and cognitive skills transferable to the classroom and beyond.

“As the founder of Write the World, it’s gratifying to see this supplemental writing enrichment program come to life at the Josh Kraft Mattapan Teen Center.  The Writing as Changemaking afterschool curriculum gave teenagers pathways to explore their identities, passions, hopes, and fears through writing within a supportive community of peers.” - - David Weinstein, Founder & CEO, Write the World, Inc.

-> Learn about Write the World, Afterschool from our flyer.


Why is Writing Important Outside of School?

Increased exposure and time on task improves writing competence. However, traditional schools face many challenges when it comes to replicating best practices for developing writing skills, including: 

  • Protecting daily time dedicated to writing.
  • Writing in non-English Language Arts courses, and/or across multiple disciplines.
  • Engaging students in academic and non-academic topics that are relevant to them.
  • Encouraging students to write for an audience other than their teacher.
  • Encouraging students to write for a goal other than a grade.

Afterschool programs have the opportunity to position writing as a social activity that is relevant and engaging to students with far less pressure from graded outcomes. As a result, students can gain confidence in their writing, revision, and social-emotional skills, which are transferable to school, college, and beyond.


“We were so excited to implement Write the World at BGCB, and the experience for our teens was just terrific. Write the World is a unique and wonderful program that enables our young people to develop their writing skills, express themselves, and build community. The program represents a valuable way for us to advance our strategy for helping our members succeed in school and be ready for lives of impact!” -  Mike Kennealy, Senior Advisor & Chief Strategy Officer, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston

Making Change in Boston

For every youth in Boston and Chelsea, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston is a life-changing force for opportunity and empowerment that enables future talent to reach their full individual potential as productive citizens and leaders, inspired to make a difference in the Greater Boston community.

“Write the World gave our teens the platform to experience the joy of writing on their own terms. The practice of peer review and the intentional collaboration boosted the teens’ confidence so much so that they felt comfortable sharing their most personal thoughts and feelings with one another. The Writing as Changemaking program allowed our members to identify passions, discuss issues, and demonstrate vulnerability – all while developing their writing skills!”  -- Molly Herlihy, AVP of Operations, Impact, & Strategy, Boys & Girls Club Boston

Hear a few of the students share their voices from their performance during the event:


About Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston:

2 Color BGCB LogoBoys & Girls Clubs of Boston is the leading and most impactful youth organization in Greater Boston, catalyzing far-reaching opportunity for more equitable futures for 6-18 year olds in 22 communities and across eight Clubs and YouthConnect throughout Boston and Chelsea. Since 1893, BGCB has focused on making the region thrive and has played an essential role for young people eager to explore their passions, find their purpose, and prepare for a life of success and impact. In partnership with the public sector, private enterprise, related non-profits, donors and volunteers, BGCB is aligned behind investing in the region’s urban talent pipeline and making a generational impact that expands beyond the walls of its buildings and deep into the communities it serves. Helping urban youth to navigate a fast-paced global climate steeped in change, the organization is recognized for fueling the future of the city and the Commonwealth through its innovative “readiness” programs centered on three outcome areas: Academic Success, Health and Wellness, and Workforce Readiness. It is an affiliate of the Atlanta-based Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with over 5,000 Clubs nationwide serving over 3.6 million young people.

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