Good writers have two things in common: they prefer to be understood rather than admired; and they do not write for knowing and over-acute readers.
Sunday, January 11th, I had an awesome opportunity to facilitate the weekly Gloucester County NAACP Act-So chapter meeting.
What is ACT-SO?
The NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics is a year long achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.
ACT-SO includes 26 categories of competition in the sciences, humanities, business, and performing and visual arts. Almost 300,000 young people have participated from the program since its inception. Source: NAACPConnect
We had a conversation on “Writing Essentials”. I met the nicest and most respectful teens who are participating in this national competition in the area of their passion…
- Writing: Essays, Short Stories, Poetry and Spoken Word
They followed an agenda and during one point introduced themselves and talked about their competition area. When it came to my point in the program, I took the opportunity to critique their introductions. I wrote their names and disciplines down as I heard and understood them. When I read my notes back to them, six (6) out of the eleven (11) names were incorrect. I stressed when they stand before the judges, they must speak in strong voices to the last person seated in the room The person must be able to hear the proper annunciation of their name and the reason they are participating in the competition. It was a good start. It allowed me to stress, they needed to write out their who they were, why they were there, and what they were passionate about before hand. I challenged them to keep a journal as they participated in the Act-So competition.
I then went on to talk about how to become a great storyteller. Regardless of their discipline, storytelling is crucial to their presentation. We talked about the following:
- What makes a great storyteller.
- How to get started writing or telling their story.
- How and where stories are captured.
- How to define their main characters and keep them consistent throughout the story.
We discussed their personal mission and their passion. And I gave them a list of personal challenges for them to think and write about.
These high school students carried themselves as freshmen and juniors in college. I want to say to their parents and guardians, “Well Done!” I want to thank Mrs. Larae Carter and her team of Mentors for inviting me and opening up yet another way for me to keep the process going. I am not giving back, I am paying it forward. That is what teen mentoring is all about.
We, yes I am on board as a mentor, are looking for more mentors. If you are interested please contact me at ActSoSmart@gladstonepublishing.com.