The partnership between Northeastern, 826 Boston, and O’Bryant School in Roxbury provides free writing services to high school children.

Partnership inks pledge to advance youth’s writing skills

The Writers' Room is mod­eled after Northeastern’s Writing Center, which strives to improve the quality of stu­dents’ writing through in-​​person and online consulting
December 4th, 2013

Northeastern’s Writing Pro­gram has joined forces with the local non­profit 826 Boston to estab­lish a writing center at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Sci­ence that offers stu­dents every­thing from assis­tance on col­lege essays to quiet space to pen a short story.

Dubbed the Writers’ Room, the space offers indi­vidual and group tutoring with the goal of cre­ating a school-​​wide cul­ture of writing. It is mod­eled after Northeastern’s Writing Center, which strives to improve the quality of stu­dents’ writing through in-​​person and online consulting.

“This unique three-​​way part­ner­ship is more than an oppor­tu­nity to ‘do good,’” said Chris Gal­lagher, Eng­lish pro­fessor and director of Northeastern’s Writing Pro­gram. “We see the Writers’ Room as an oppor­tu­nity for our stu­dents to study and prac­tice writing in a vibrant com­mu­nity con­text and to build on Northeastern’s already strong rela­tion­ship with 826 Boston. Watching our own stu­dents grow as writers, thinkers, and leaders through their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Writers’ Room has only strength­ened the Writing Program’s com­mit­ment to Northeastern’s expe­ri­en­tial learning model.”

O’Bryant High School seniors utilize the Writers’ Room to work on their contemporary novel literary reviews. – See more at: http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2013/12/writers-room

The Writers’ Room opened in Sep­tember and will remain at O’Bryant—a high school in Boston’s Rox­bury neighborhood—for at least three years. Since its launch, some 550 stu­dents have already used the space for help on hun­dreds of assign­ments ranging from class assign­ments to col­lege essays, which many stu­dents must com­plete in the coming weeks.

“It has been great to see the response from stu­dents,” said Chris­tine Meade, AMD’05, the in-​​school pro­gram man­ager for 826 Boston, an orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to sup­porting youth with their writing skills and inspiring them to write. “I think they appre­ciate get­ting an extra set of eyes on their work. It’s also nice when the stu­dents come by to let you know how they did.”

Many of the tutors are North­eastern stu­dents, who are still familiar with the col­lege appli­ca­tion process. “They remember all the advice they received, which they can now pass on,” Meade said.

Rose Caplan, S’17, learned about the Writers’ Room through Northeastern’s Civic Engage­ment Pro­gram and started vol­un­teering shortly there­after. At first she wor­ried about tutoring stu­dents close to her age, but she quickly real­ized the ben­e­fits of being able to relate to the students.

“It’s nice to give advice that can help them get into a good school. That’s really rewarding,” she said.

O’Bryant senior Mis­sana Alemu started going to the Writers’ Room in October when she needed help on a col­lege essay. “It’s con­ve­nient for us, and that’s the main reason I like it,” Alemu said of the room’s loca­tion. “[North­eastern] came at a per­fect time. You do always need someone else to look at your work.”

- By Joe O’Connell


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