Yesterday was the very first day of the new writing program we’re doing with KIPP STRIVE Academy, and dare I say it went beautifully. But before I get into that, some details to fill you in about what’s happened since we first introduced the program.
• We’re lucky enough to have friends in some high (internet) places, so the word spread quickly about the opportunity. (See: phew!) We’ve ended up with 16 volunteers to pair with 16 fifth grade students.
• Most volunteers are writers by profession, with a huge variety of specialties represented. Journalists, novelists, legal writers, jacks-of-all-trades — you name it, we’ve got it.
• We had a couple of orientation sessions to meet the KIPP STRIVE staff members (Hi John! Hi Ed!) we’ll be working with and to answer questions about the program. Since Lain and I were involved, beer was served.
• Oh, and most importantly, the Kim King Foundation has graciously funded our entire project. How cool is that?
Which brings us to yesterday. The writers arrived at KIPP STRIVE — located at the old J. C. Harris Elementary building, fittingly enough — excited and confused about how to enter the building.
The answer to that question was, for the record, “through the door.”
Once we got over that hurdle, everyone received their space-age visitor pass and hopped over to meet the students.
For the tenure of the program, each adult/mentor/volunteer (still working on the language there) will be paired up with a student, and through these partnerships a beautiful story will emerge. Or at least a story with correct grammar. Needless to say, meeting partners was a big deal.
And y’all, boy howdy are the KIPP STRIVE kids awesome. We had been reassured all the students would be enthusiastic, well-behaved, and eager to write, but “charming as all get up” totally should have been included.
At least one of our volunteers was pleased with the experience:
We did some little getting-to-know-you activities as documented by volunteer Jamie over at Chronicle’s blog. Among other things, we found out that one student’s nickname is “Chalupa” and that the song “TiK ToK” by Ke$ha had few supporters in the room.
All in all, a successful meet-and-greet. Nobody cried, and I don’t think there was one disappointed person on either side (though feel free to correct me, dream-crushers).
So yay! Hopefully this means that I won’t spend next Tuesday with so much nervous energy I can’t pick up the phone on the first try. No promises, though.
And, of course, thank you so much to all of our volunteers — we very literally could not do it without you.