it has given me my passion for life again…”
Sheila Greenfield, caregiver of a disabled veteran
“What’s your story? Find your voice. Tell it.” Since 2008, the Writers Guild Initiative, the new name of the WGAE Foundation, has been helping people of all walks of life achieve this simple vision: to put their lived experiences into words. With volunteer mentors from the Writers Guild, our programs give everyday Americans – veterans and their caregivers, medical personnel, and students of all ages – opportunities to use the tools of our trade to tell powerful stories of their lives.
Since 2008, our Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops have used storytelling to help nearly 250 veterans and their caregivers cope with physical or psychological damages of war. Our workshops connect participants with others facing similar challenges and with mentors eager to help them write about their personal journeys. The results can be transformative: one recent participant called the workshop “the singularly most important experience in my family’s life in the past five years.”
Our vision for what the Writers Guild Initiative can do continues to grow. In 2012, in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project, we launched highly successful first workshops for military medical personnel in Landstuhl, Germany, the nearest medical facility to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Our school programs let elementary school students correspond with writers like Nora Ephron, and let over 400 disadvantaged high school students hear actors and writers talk about the books that moved them as young people. Now we are developing a new project, to help the children of military personnel who have died, or been severely injured in service, write about their experiences.
This is what WRITERS can do! The ability to put into words who you are and what you experience is a gift, a powerful tool, a resource, and an inspiration. The skills we possess – and may take for granted – are enormously valued by people we generally don’t encounter in the course of our professional lives. This work is hugely empowering for everyone involved – far beyond what we dared expect when we launched this work in 2008.
We invite you to be a part of this effort. Please give generously to support our work, and also by volunteering to participate in our programs that continue to realize our vision of a world in which everyone is empowered to tell their story. If you do, I think you will be moved by the many ways you can inspire others with writing and how deeply you are touched by the experience.
President, Writers Guild Initiative