Each Thursday, several girls from the Friendship Court community come together for a creative writing program taught by Sonia Montalvo. Sonia, program staff at the Boys and Girls Club says, “I want to help the girls think differently about things through the creative writing process. Kids are so imaginative, if you can just give them the platform and space, it’s amazing what they can come up with!”
Sonia has led the girls in “The Girls are Alwrite” reading and writing program, working on activities to help their imaginations flourish. They started with the idea of how to find beauty in themselves by finding the beauty in stories. Sonia says, “Sometimes African American girls feel ostracized which makes it hard for them to find their voice.” During their sessions together, Sonia plans some physical activity which she says helps the girls connect and get their creative juices flowing.
By the end of the seven sessions, the girls will have written one, possibly two stories that they will share with each other. When they go back to school, Sonia hopes the girls will be able to draw on their experience and be more creative in their schoolwork.
Sonia has help with her newly-formed business from her sister, Tracie Jamison, who acts as treasurer. With a recent grant from Equity Institute in the amount of $3,700, Sonia’s business is officially incorporated and she is working on becoming a 501(c)(3). Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Shelley Murphy connected Sonia to Friendship Court after meeting her through the Dream Builders Academy Business Development Class. During Sonia’s pitch on culmination night, Shelley offered to sponsor five girls from Friendship Court in her workshop and after meeting and discussing the idea with Community Organizer, Claudette Grant, they decided it would be a great fit!
Sonia says, “One of my long term goals is to incorporate my program into the local school systems, prominently into those with large African American and Latino populations. I’m working on getting my teaching certificate so that I might be able to do that.”
She added that she has had fun connecting so far with the girls and she says those connections seem to help the girls be more creative. Sonia says, “Creative writing can take a girl’s soul far!”
If you would like to learn more about Sonia’s workshops or The Girls Are Alwrite, feel free to contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 434-981-9998.