PAC Spotlight: McKinley PAC's "The Power of the Pen"

“Feel the Power of the Pen!” Read on to learn about why creative writing is important for young people with Katie Flores, Vice President of McKinley Park Advisory Council (MPAC).


CPF: WHAT IS THE MCKINLEY PARK CREATIVE WRITING PROGRAM?

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Katie Flores: The program is a weekly workshop for young people ages 11 to 15. It’s a safe space where kids can work on their writing, share their pieces with others, and most importantly, have their voices and be heard. The goal is for participants to draft and edit pieces during the weekly workshops and then share their work at the culminating event in August 2016, either by performing in front of an audience or displaying their written pieces. 

The idea for the program came out of an event hosted by McKinley Park Advisory Council in January 2016 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Young Chicago Authors brought Black Rose, a teaching artist, writer, performance poet, and playwright based out of Chicago, to come work with the participants. The event was a huge success and I realized that creative writing provides young people an opportunity to share without being judged for what they write or say. The continuation of the workshops through mid-August will give young people a long-term space to share their work. 

WHY IS CREATIVE WRITING IMPORTANT FOR TEENAGERS?

Creative writing is important for teenagers because it allows them to express difficult emotions in a non-judgmental environment. Often times it’s easier to write creatively because you are able to use your own style and voice to convey your message. I’m excited to provide this opportunity because while McKinley Park hosts a variety of excellent athletics programs, there aren’t as many cultural or artistic programs available for young people who might not be interested in sports. 


WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE WORKSHOPS?

 Black Rose teaching students at the McKinley Park MLK Day event

Black Rose teaching students at the McKinley Park MLK Day event

I want my students to be able to find the strength and courage to read their work out loud. I’m here to help them write creatively, whether it’s poetry, narrative, or other types of writing. It’s a great opportunity for kids to work face to face on their writing, since so much of their communicating is done online. I’m looking forward to getting to know the kids as authors and poets and connecting with them through writing. 

HOW CAN THE COMMUNITY GET INVOLVED IN THESE WORKSHOPS?

I’m looking for adults with an interest in creative writing to come to the workshops and share their pieces! The workshops are every Friday from 5pm – 6pm at McKinley Park Fieldhouse. For more information contact Katie at katie.e.flores@gmail.com

 

Michaele Strauch