What a year. It’s been disruptive, difficult, and while there’s been so much change, too many things have stayed the same. Throughout our country, huge issues like systemic racism, democracy, COVID, the environment, poverty, and wealth inequality do not seem to be moving in a direction that you would expect for the 21st century.
And I am sure everyone has also had those moments of questioning their own ‘purpose,’ and in a greater sense asking themselves, “How am I contributing to the solutions and/or the problems that are seen all around us?” I have asked myself that question, and it’s one that we as an agency have pondered, too. It’s a big question, and answering it can seem daunting – but remember that a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.
With that in mind, and after collective input from across our team, we are starting that journey with Mighty Writers, a Philadelphia-based organization whose core mission is to help kids “Think clearly and write with clarity.”
Writing is an invaluable life skill that translates to any career, because it gives you the mental framework to process information and to express yourself clearly, and it’s a skill that writer and editor Tim Whittaker sought to give kids when he founded Mighty Writers in 2009.
Pre-pandemic, the group offered free writing programs to over 3,500 kids at seven locations throughout Philly, and to 1,500 through their virtual class sessions. Their programs include themed writing workshops, mentorships, a teen scholars program, college essay writing courses, and toddler programs. All of these have moved online since the pandemic began, but the team at Mighty Writers – understanding how severely this crisis was impacting the families they work to reach – quickly pivoted and began delivering food packages to the children most in need. After all, it’s hard to learn when you are hungry.
In addition to our financial support, we wanted to support Mighty Writers throughout 2021 with our talents and to build a lasting relationship with them. So we spoke with Tim Whitaker, Executive Director and Naomi Levecchia, Development Director, about how we could support Mighty Writers in a more meaningful way. And we came up with these additional means of support.
- Youth Mentoring: I have personally signed up to be a homework tutor. I hope and expect that building that connection and directly supporting a young person during their formative years is a rewarding endeavor, and it is one that I am looking forward to sharing with my colleagues. And to enable anyone else in the agency to do that as well, anyone on our team who wants to become a homework tutor will be given time to do so as agency time.
- Writing Competition: We will sponsor a writing competition focused on the community’s experience of applying for college. The winner will take home a modest prize (in the form of a gift card), and their winning entry will be published on Volt, our higher ed marketing magazine – as will excerpts from other standout entries to the competition.
- Marketing Resources: Last but not least, we are committing a monthly allotment of the agency’s hourly resources to support Mighty Writers digital initiatives over 2021. In doing so, we hope to help Mighty Writers achieve their mission and amplify the good work they have been doing for over 11 strong years.
Everyone’s circumstances are different, and the opportunity to give may not be available to everyone – especially in these times. And I get how cynicism can be the enemy of progress and creativity and can become a barrier to taking action. But if we, as people, can commit something, however small, toward effective action that we believe will support the society that we want to live in, we make it possible to get there.
For us as an agency, this is just one step. I love working and leading the team at eCity and I am proud of the work that we do. And by supporting Mighty Writers, we are adding to our ‘purpose.’
So here’s to a brighter 2021, and to taking first steps together.