Ensuring students have all of the support that they need is at the heart of the Mighty Writers’ mission.
Founded by Tim Whitaker in 2009, Mighty Writers aims to take on illiteracy by helping students of all ages in Philly, Camden, Newark and Atlantic City further develop their reading and writing skills.
Angela Gomez, a Ventnor native who serves as the volunteer manager for Mighty Writers, first became involved with the organization as a workshop leader not long after graduating from Rutgers University. Having had experience working with kids in the past, assisting in their growth is something she takes great pride in.
“I really just enjoy working with the team and working with the kids and being able to make a difference, especially in the Philly community,” Gomez said.
Mighty Writers fulfills its mission by offering activity-based workshops, both in-person and virtual, that target every facet of reading and writing. Whether it’s helping high school-aged students draft and edit college essays, teaching students how to organize business plans, or educating students on mindfulness, there is something for everyone. Those workshops not only look to help students improve their skills in a fun, enjoyable manner, but give them a safe environment to learn and interact with fellow students.
Mentorship programs are also offered to provide guidance, including reading and homework help, to students whenever they may need it. Gomez said establishing those kinds of relationships is vitally important for helping students develop confidence in their writing abilities.
“We want to make sure that we’re telling them that you’re not just there as a mentor, you want to be somebody in this kid’s corner that they know is there for them at all times,” Gomez said.
Yet while offering reading and writing help has been the organization’s main focus, the hardships brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic presented other immediate needs in the community, chief among them being access to proper nutrition and hygiene.
To do their part in combating those issues, Mighty Writers now organizes food and diaper drives for the underserved communities that they’re based in to make sure families have ample access to meals, groceries and other necessities. These events have become staples of the organization.
As Gomez put it, serving as teachers in the community means going beyond typical classroom needs and ensuring students have the resources they need to ensure they are successful.
“If your kids have a need, we’re trying to meet that need,” Gomez said. “Whether that be academically or making sure that they have food or diapers, if the family is helped a little bit, then the kids have more time to focus on school and learning, reading and writing.”
As Mighty Writers continues to expand, new volunteers are always welcome, especially those who have a passion for reading and writing.
“If you are a book lover and a writer in general, we want you to share that love of reading and writing with our kids,” Gomez said. “By joining Mighty Writers, you can give back to the community and share that love with the kids.”