About Barrio Writers
Barrio Writers (BW) is a creative writing program founded by author Sarah Rafael García, which provides free college level writing workshops to teenagers in underserved communities. In the summer of 2009, thirty students came together to form the first Barrio Writers chapter in Santa Ana, California, a non-profit reading and writing program that aims to empower teens through creative writing, higher education, and cultural arts.
BW is a non-profit program that offers workshops and additional one-on-one tutor hours for one week. Participants receive college-level workshops to build skills in reading, grammar, creative writing, critical-thinking and freedom of expression through cultural arts. The session includes guest writers, who serve as role models in our neighborhoods and support youth aspirations.
The BW program thrives through its community collaboration. By aligning with universities, cultural centers, libraries and Resistencia Bookstore, BW participants are exposed to diverse activities provided in the surrounding areas while in turn give support to the local cultural arts and community resources. Currently, we have active chapters in Santa Ana, California and Austin, Pflugerville, San Marcos, Nacogdoches, and Corpus Christi, Texas.
The program strives to present alternative forms of expressions through cultural art collaboration in the community. The summer workshops culminate with a live reading, which allows Barrio Writers to present final pieces to our community and reach a wider audience by potential media coverage and book sales. The written works submitted by teens from the multiple chapters are published in an anthology collection. It is our goal to include all chapters in each annual edition to form a diverse youth community beyond the workshops.
BW participants are between the ages of 13 to 19 years old and reside in the surrounding area of the local chapters. By opening workshops to all levels of students from local schools and neighborhoods, Barrio Writers includes teenagers from diverse circumstances to participate and share their lives with our society. We also encourage for college and university students up to the age of 21 years old to participate as peers obtaining higher education.
One goal of the program is to publish an anthology collection of written works demonstrating the diverse backgrounds of teenagers that can be used in and out of the classroom. Barrio Writers is a collection of works by teens for teens, teachers and our communities. All profits from the book are returned to the Barrio Writers program for future years. The long-term goal is to publish a new edition each year with hopes that more neighborhoods will adopt the program and more teachers will use the BW book in the classroom. The Barrio Writers program and its annual anthology are designed to empower the teenage community while establishing a self-sufficient educational program that will represent community pride, perseverance, and endless possibilities for following generations.
Sarah Rafael García,
Author and Barrio Writers Founder
Watch our videos featuring our founding Barrio Writers in 2009-2010: