Women's Voices Mentorship Program

$5,264 of $7,000 goal

Raised by 96 people in 11 months
Jessica Piazza  LOS ANGELES, CA
We all know that creative writing isn't the most lucrative field in the world, but true writers are still driven by passion and talent to bring their voices to the world. We write after work, between diaper changes, between shifts. We take loans for MFA programs that we know might be impossible to pay back. We do our best to make it work and to share our unique vision....

...unless we can't. So many writers--especially women from under-represented populations--aren't able to afford quality, empathetic, graduate level creative writing mentorship and education. Ironically, these are the very writers whose voices our industry most needs: women of color, single mothers, lgbtq writers, women of small financial means.  

These are the stories that need to be heard and the poems that need to be written, honed and published. But in the literary industry, who you know and where you've gone counts; most people who publish widely have done university masters programs or PhDs in writing.  But the artists who would write the stories we so need to hear often can't afford to spend the money, time or energy on graduate writing programs, or they feel ostracized because higher education historically treats women in these positions (and their stories and poems and memoirs) with less dignity, vision and respect than other students.

The Women's Voices Mentorship Program (WVMP) was created specifically to address these problems. Mentors work one on one with writers to nourish, guide and hone their work, treating each student to a level of indivudal guidance and education many MFA programs can't match. We make targeted writing goals and plans with each student, give them readings and assignments, edit and work through each piece of writing, truly building toward a full body of work and publication with every session and every meeting.

As a mentor, published poet, university professor and literary citizen, I'm proud to help women achieve their writing goals. But even though our program costs far less than the price of a master's education in writing (with far more individual attention), I recognize that not all women can afford even our program's rates. So I decided to raise money to provide scholarships to three or four women writers this summer. I believe that as a mentor in the WVMP I can offer these poets and fiction writers something that they might not otherwise ever have: graduate level creative writing education that's focused specifically on their unique voices, goals and talents.

Which is, hopefully, where you come in.

The cost per scholarship is $3250 (plus GoFundMe fees.) If we can raise $9750 plus fees, we'll be able to provide writing mentorship to three talented women whose voices desperately need to be heard. $13,000 will allow us to fully fund four women writers. These scholarships will go to women who demonstrate excellent writing potential already, and they will all be women of color, single mothers or LGBTQ writers, as so often these are the communities that lack access to comprehensive education (in the arts and elsewhere!)

If we do not raise enough money to fully fund three scholarships, we'll fund as many full programs as possible and offer the rest as partial scholarships. If we meet our goal of three scholarships, we'll continue on to try to fund four women's mentorships.

Each mentorship session runs the length of a university quarter and provides a comprehensive apprenticeship and education.  You can read more about the program and exactly what I do as a mentor here:  http://www.womensvoicesmentorship.com

I truly hope you'll kick in even a few bucks to help bring these voices to the world.  Any amount will help. Also, consider chipping in with friends to sponsor one woman's scholarship on your own! It's an amazing way to be a patron of the arts for someone who truly deserves it.
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Update 3
Posted by Jessica Piazza
9 months ago
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WRITING RETREAT REWARD - one entry to win this reward per every $25 of donations! Spread the word!

Is anyone interested in winning a free writing retreat in New Hampshire while helping women writers from underserved communities?

As part of the Women's Voices Mentorship Program fundraising campaign, we're giving away off a six day, five night stay at Toad Hall retreat, about an hour North of Dartmouth.

Every $25 donated from this point on will equal one chance to win. In other words, a $25 donation will be one chance to win, a $100 donation will equal four chances. Drawing will be random.

Details and images of the property are here: http://www.womensvoicesmentorship.com/#!workshops-and-retreats/opjts

(Of course, you're still welcome to donate if you're not interested in the retreat. Just make a note of that on your donation.)

Here are some details about the retreat:

It's five nights and six days. This time can be used as one retreat or even split up over two weekends. The winner can gift all or part of the stay to another writer, as well.

The property is in North Haverhill, NH, about an hour north of Dartmouth (that's Hanover NH). Nearest Amtrak is White River Junction VT, or if flying, Manchester NH.

There is WiFi but no TV. Meals not included but guests are welcome to use the kitchen. There is a nice little cafe about 1/2 mile away (walking distance), and in the town of N Haverhill (a five-minute drive) there are restaurants and a grocery store.

The property is no smoking. Hiking trails, state parks, antiquing, and other attractions are all close by. Quiet time for writing and reflection are guaranteed.

Please donate and spread the word!

https://www.gofundme.com/268y84s
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Update 2
Posted by Jessica Piazza
9 months ago
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We've funded our first scholarship! Thanks to all you beautiful people, we have one mentorship fully funded, and have started the process of reading applications to choose the recipient.

We're still hoping to fund another full scholarship (our original goal was three, but we're being conservative!), and we always appreciate you spreading the word in your community that we could use the help and that this is a great cause.

Thank you again!
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Update 1
Posted by Jessica Piazza
10 months ago
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1
1
Hi all! We're 2/3 of the way to funding our first mentorship, and I'm so grateful to all of you. I know together we can do this!

I also wanted to clarify some points based on some questions I've received:

1 - I did not create nor do I run the Women's Voices Mentorship Program. It's a relatively new but established mentorship program for women writers, and there are currently about 15 highly qualified writers who mentor for the program.

2 - As a mentor/teacher, I do get paid for my work with the program. People pay to sign up for these mentorships, generally, because they are a rare alternative to graduate MFA education. I felt, though, that the program is so amazing and the mentorship is so intense and such a good opportunity, that I wanted to work with women who *can't* afford the program fees (low as they are compared with MFA program costs) instead of women who could pay. So I decided to raise money so several women could have the opportunity to go through the program without having to pay anything.

Honestly: I do tons of volunteer work and would love to volunteer as a mentor with this program, too, but the truth is that the mentorship is so thorough and so intense that there's no way mentors could dedicate the time it takes to work at this level (equal to graduate level creative writing education mentorship) without getting paid something. So instead I've decided to raise money to put women through the program.

3 - The writers who receive these mentorships will not have to pay for any books, materials, online class technology platforms or anything else. The program provides all of this. They will just show up, write, engage and work!

Anyway, I hope this encourages you to donate. I'm so grateful for everyone's help so far.
Volunteering w/Young Storytellers Org.
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$5,264 of $7,000 goal

Raised by 96 people in 11 months
Created May 26, 2016
$5
THANKS!
The gratitude of me and the women who receive these scholarships, plus the knowledge that you've done something good for women in underserved communities.
$25
E-Writing!
UPDATE: a $25 donation as of 7/1 = one entry into the Toad Hall Writers Retreat giveaway. A poem or story from one of the recipients, sent via email.
$75
More E-Writing
A story or poem from all three/four scholarship recipients, sent via email when the mentoring session is completed.
$200
Signed Book
19 of 20 left
Stories/poems from all scholarship writers via email + a signed copy of the poetry collection Obliterations (Red Hen Press) by Jessica Piazza & H. A. O'Neill.
$125
E-Book!
Stories/poems from all scholarship writers via email + an e-copy of the poetry collection Interrobang (Red Hen Press) by Jessica Piazza.
$150
Signed Chapbook
18 of 20 left
Stories/poems from all scholarship writers via email + a signed copy of the poetry collection This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press) by Jessica Piazza.
$250
Interrobang!
12 of 15 left
Stories/poems from all scholarship writers via email + a signed copy of the poetry collection Interrobang (Red Hen Press) by Jessica Piazza.
$500
ALL BOOKS!
15 of 15 left
Signed hard copies (or e-copies if preferred) of ALL three poetry collections by Jessica Piazza + poetry/fiction from scholarship recipients (via email.)
$1,000
VIDEO!
All previous rewards, plus a video thank you from one of the scholarship recipients, including a reading of a poem or story.
$3,250
VIDEO + MORE
3 of 3 left
For those who fund a whole scholarship, you get all previous rewards, plus a video with readings by ALL scholarship students, plus a custom-made poem broadside.
$50
Other E-Writing
Previous rewards, plus a story/poem from two of the scholarship recipients, sent via email.
$369
Anonymous
6 months ago
$25
Katharine Beutner
8 months ago
CR
$25
Carlie Ramer
8 months ago
KS
$25
Karen Skolfield
8 months ago

What a great cause!

SJ
$25
Sonja Johanson
8 months ago
CP
$25
Cheryl Pappas
8 months ago
SH
$75
Sandra Hunter
8 months ago
JK
$25
Jen Karetnick
8 months ago
$25
Anonymous
8 months ago
$25
Anonymous
8 months ago
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