YOUNG AUTHOR PROJECt
The Young Author Project, Deep's introductory program, engages public middle school students with language and their stories to help them express themselves with skill, confidence, and courage. This after-school program is exclusively for middle grades public school students, with a typical workshop size of 14 youth. Each student is selected for a full Young Author Scholarship by a teacher at their school based on demonstrated need, enthusiasm, and dedication. With three key elements, our award-winning program provides a challenging and fun approach to creative writing:
- Our writing fellows: enthusiastic, experienced writer-mentors with expertise in and a passion for creative writing.
- A project-based learning curriculum with one compelling reason to write—and write well: to become a published author.
- A workshop atmosphere that inspires lots of personal mentorship, trust, and sharing.
Select young authors are chosen by their peers to read their published works at Deep Speaks, the Youth Author Project's end-of-semester book launch and live reading before 550 family members, peers, and community members.
Block by Block
Block by Block, Deep Center's advanced, year-long creative writing program, supports high school-aged authors (ages 14-18) as they research, document, and tell the past and present stories of their families, streets, and community through creative writing and art. Block by Block participants have successfully completed the Young Author Project (see above) and are selected for a fully-funded Block by Block scholarship based on demonstrated need, enthusiasm, and dedication.
Meeting in the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum and other community spaces, young writers leave the four walls of the typical institutionalized learning environment to conduct street-level community research, discover Savannah’s unfolding stories, and find their own stories’ place in Savannah and society at large. The topics and issues that are the center of their research and creative production include some of Savannah's greatest cultural assets and civic challenges.
Visiting artists engage youth in rendering their stories through visual and other arts. And this work informs the development, in collaboration with adult artists, of works of public art that amplify youth and community stories.
To celebrate the young authors' writing, and by extension, their community, Block by Block culminates in a block party featuring public art, a live reading by young authors, foods, games, and lots of joy.
Three key elements make Block by Block a challenging and fun approach to creative community engagement:
- Our teaching artists: enthusiastic, experienced mentors with expertise in and a passion for creative writing.
- A culturally sensitive curriculum, grounded in project-based learning and infused with community engagement to connect students and their personal stories to current and historical narratives of their neighborhoods and society at-large.
- A workshop atmosphere that creates lots of personal mentorship, trust, and sharing.
Recruitment for Block by Block happens in the fall every year, and is open to graduates of the Young Author Project.
Block by Block is funded by NEA Our Town, the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the United Way Coastal Empire, and the Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs.
Youth Leadership Team
The Youth Leadership Team is made up of eight young authors who have participated successfully in both the Young Author Project and Block by Block, identify strongly as creative writers, are passionate about engaging with hearts and minds in some of Savannah's and our nation's most challenging topics, and are committed as experts in their own right to helping support and improve Deep Center's programs and organization.
Team members meet regularly to provide feedback to Deep staff, facilitate community events, and write.
Team members also go on periodic leadership trips around the region and the nation to share their and Deep's work, engage in dialogue about culture and the critical issues facing our communities locally and nationwide, and learn from national peers.