what it is
you plan to do
with your one
wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver
1. Why do you meet on a weekly basis?
As with any exercise regime or meditation practice, the greatest growth comes from writing on a regular basis. It is through the weekly experience of both self-connection (articulating your thoughts and feelings on paper) and social-connection (speaking your truth and having it affirmed by others) that girls develop confidence in their own unique voice.
“It’s the best part of my week and the only place I feel like I can relax and be myself.”
—TIWP student, age 15
2. Will this program improve my daughter’s writing skills?
Yes! Absolutely! The more girls write, the more articulate they become. And the best way to get girls to write more often is to make it fun, to support girls in writing about what they love and what feels meaningful to them. That said, this is a writing-based empowerment program, so our first priority and primary focus is on strengthening the inner self. In other words, we use writing as as a tool—as "the way in"—for developing self-awareness and self-esteem.
Instead of teaching technique or grammar, we support a love of both writing and self-inquiry. Because of this, our girls tell us that writing essays for school is "now so much easier!" In fact, very few of our students need help on their college application essays because they already know who they are and how to tell their story.
When girls are connected to their strengths and empowered to speak their truth, they are naturally eloquent.
“This experience really helped me grow as a person. I feel more confident of myself and my writing now.” —TIWP student, age 15
3. Will my daughter get personalized support?
Oh yeah! Big time! The transformative power of our programs comes from the way we're able to give each girl individualized mentoring, coaching and emotional support—which depends on having small, intimate groups and capping class size at 6. Additionally, because each class is designed to be "a creative safe-space," girls tend to develop deep emotional bonds, both among their peers and with their instructor. Even outside of class (and long after girls have graduated), instructors are always available to listen and offer support. We also offer individual support in the form of private writing classes and college essay coaching.
“I feel so safe here. I can share things here that I can't share anywhere else.”
— TIWP student, age 17
4. What happens in class?
The short answer is: a lot! The magic of every class is that girls keep learning so much about themselves, empowered by the enthusiastic support of their peers. This is made possible by the fact that we offer a very structured, "safe container"—balancing instruction, discussion, writing and sharing. For example, every class starts with instruction and discussion related to the theme of the class. Then we offer a writing "prompt" to inspire the day's writing. Depending to the maturity level of the class (older girls tend to write longer and we group girls accordingly), everyone writes in silence for 20-40 minutes. When everyone is finished writing, we take turns reading our writing out loud and giving positive feedback, in accordance with the Amherst Writing Method.
We believe the Amherst Writing Method is one of the most beautiful and encouraging writing methods in existence. It insists that we are all writers, that we all deserve unconditional creative support, and (to protect the privacy of the writer) that all writing is regarded as fiction and given only positive feedback. When girls hear others affirm and appreciate their words, it helps them to see their own inherent value.
"This program has made me 100% more confident and optimistic.” — TIWP student, age 16
5. What if I miss a class?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide refunds for missed group classes. In the summer, we try to honor family vacation time by offering everyone two free weeks. During the school year, however, we are only closed for school holidays and missed classes cannot be refunded. Instead, we offer one private make-up class per quarter. For individual coaching sessions, a parent must give the instructor 24 hours notice to cancel a scheduled session, or the full cost of the session will be charged.
“I didn’t understand myself before. Now I do. Now I know I can do anything.”
— TIWP Student, age 14
6. Is there any homework?
No homework ever! Each class is its own a self-contained experience. At the same time, girls are encouraged to use writing as a tool for personal clarity, self-discovery, and emotional self-care—whenever and wherever they need it! We also encourage girls to share anything they wrote during the week and want to share in class, which they often do.
“Every week I learn so much but it’s so much fun, it feels like the opposite of school!”
—TIWP Student, age 15
7. What is your payment policy?
Our classes meet every week (except for over school holidays) for an entire quarter—summer, fall, winter, spring—in accordance with the public school calendar. Each two-hour class is $80.
Since we want to empower high school girls to make their own decisions, the first class is considered a “taste test" or "intro class" and is completely free. We hope your will daughter love the experience! But if she doesn’t love it, she doesn't have to come back and there's no payment required. If, however, your daughter does love it and chooses to keep writing with us, we will send you an invoice for tuition with monthly installments sent via PayPal.
“My daughter looks forward to your class all week. You are making a real and huge difference in her life. I really just can’t say enough about it. It’s remarkable how she’s found her voice with you. You have given so much and she is forever changed and expanded.” —TIWP parent, Lafayette