SF Writers Corp receives prestigious award


It doesn't get much bigger than an honor at the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama saluted San Francisco's Writers Corps as one of 15 winners of the National Arts and Humanity Youth Program Award.

"They were so down to earth. So that's what I really liked," said student Nicole Zatarain Rivera.

Writers Corp has been a story of academic success for 16 years. Young students are given an opportunity open up creatively and use their imaginations.

"We come in there and we provide them that safe space for them to express themselves, to tap into their creativity and their critical thinking skills in order to write," said Melissa Hung.

Teachers meet students in libraries or schools weekly and the program has become life changing.

"Like I can say what I want to say when I want to say it. The paper now is my best friend, like my Superman and it doesn't get mad at me when I wrinkle it up and throw it away and get mad," said Zatarain Rivera.

"All of a sudden they've got a voice to express, they're very creative and they're talented and it builds an amazing confidence," said Luis Herrera.

The library and the arts commission work together to keep it going.

"Everyone sort of pitches in and does it on a shoestring and so we continue. Hopefully something like this recognition will help," said P.J. Johnston.

This national recognition for the Writers Corps program means a new awareness and should lead to an increase in grants and contributions.

After all, how many youth arts programs in the country have this award that comes with a $10,000 check?

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