Jump into Writing is dedicated to closing the opportunity gap for low-income, minority and disabled youth. Our measure of success are students who can choose to go on to college, and are committed to using their knowledge and skills to better themselves, their environments and the world.
The Future Belongs to the Storytellers!
Talent is everywhere. When underserved, culturally isolated kids are given access to engaging instruction that meets them where they are and encourages them to grow, they do inspiring things with words.
Elizabeth Softky – Founder and Director
Born to Teach
As the bossy older sister, I truly believe I was born to be a teacher. I started practicing on my two younger sisters at an early age by teaching them Spanish from a book laying around the house. Later, as the de facto leader of the neighborhood girls, I organized various activities, and led expeditions to the library.
I created my first curriculum right out of college when I was asked by friends to lead a class for immigrant Spanish-speaking families in downtown Los Angeles.
Jump Into Writing started as a workshop for adults, born out of my frustration as a successful journalist who struggled with the process. As I pulled together helpful strategies, it occurred to me that there must be others out there with the same problem. I started teaching my quick-start, anxiety reducing program at the Sequoia Adult High School in 1999.
A Heart For Kids
About the same time, I started volunteering at a community center in East Palo Alto. Soon, the director asked me to create academic enrichment programing for the mostly underserved girls. Almost all of them had limited experience reading and writing in English. Using familiar fairy tales, Story Time, Writing Time helped these young children write about their challenging lives with a boldness and honesty that blew me away!
Goodbye, Hello, Goodbye Again
After five years I left to pursue an elementary teaching credential. That preparation, plus excellent professional development, enabled me to help almost any child who wasn’t making progress in writing. I had discovered my calling. In the summer of 2014, after ten years, it was time to move on, to pursue my dream of reaching out to more than thirty kids at a time.
“I think what most writers want is the freedom to think, and also some company – readers – to think along with them.”