If you would've asked me in 2009 about the future of Barrio Writers, I would've said, "I just hope the youth show up." Today, I know the youth always come through. We have served over 100 youth in Orange County, California and Austin, Texas.
Since our beginning at El Centro Cultural de Mexico in Santa Ana 5 summers ago, we have evolved into 1-week intensive programs on actual university campuses and published 4 summers of writing in our Barrio Writers anthologies (1st, 2nd-3rd & 4th Editions).
What do we desire to accomplish in 2014? Barrio Writers is striving to raise substantial financial support in order to publish more youth, keep growing our programs through community partnerships and writing advisors. Most recently we have been providing free workshops at the Travis County Juvenile Probation Department in Austin, Texas. Youth have the option to attend a BW workshop once a week in exchange for community service hours and a pipeline to higher education. For the last 9 weeks we have served 11 youth. One youth in particular has attended all the workshops consistently even though he has completed his community service hours. He, along with another participant, are submitting their creative writing for publication in the next collection. Their enthusiasm has inspired us, along with the Probation Officers who have witnessed their motivation. We hope you get to read their words too.
What's in the near future? We plan to release the Barrio Writers Book 5th Edition Spring 2014. The publishing process has been an overwhelming experience. But every time I witness a Barrio Writer stand behind a mic, share their own words while holding their own book, the struggle seems small in comparison to the pride they express. We will continue to offer the free workshops at the probation department, our 1-week sessions over the summer and grow our community partnership with Resistencia Bookstore in Austin to make sure our BW books are available to the public.
What do we need to make it all happen? We really need financial support to make the publishing process easier and successful. My personal goal is to get the BW books in the classrooms. But first, I need to establish a process for publication that will represent the youth works in the professional presentation they deserve. Additionally, we need to have resources available for bus passes, supplies and snacks during the workshops. By providing access to such resources, our writing advisors stay focused on engaging our youth and developing mentoring opportunities. With consistent financial support through donations and book sales, the BW workshops will continue to grow and build writers, leaders and scholars through youth empowerment without the worries of other necessities.
So, please help us raise $6000 in the next 60 days, the funds earned through our indiegogo campaign will help publish our next edition without any limitations while growing our distribution and Barrio Writers workshops in 2014. Something to remember, our book sales help us become a sustainable organization, but first we need the books and youth writings.
If you can't support Barrio Writers by making a financial contribution, please share the campaign with your friends, colleagues and business owners. Also 'like', share and tweet about us through our indiegogo page! That alone helps us too!
Wishing you the best in 2014!
Sarah Rafael García
Barrio Writers Founder