“Makayla*[…] has probably the lowest literacy in the class. She has poor spelling, misses words and cuts sentences in half, and most of her writing is illegible. But she loved writing. And sharing. And just being there with us in session. She was always excited to share her work, with a big smile on her face. She spent time editing her work and it was a great story about overcoming Bigfoot by being smart and brave instead of violent. And she wrote herself as the hero of the story. That’s a significant breakthrough to me.”
— BILAL HAFDA, STORY FACTORY STORYTELLER-IN-CHIEF – PARRAMATTA
Stories have the power to change lives.
Research shows that literacy skills and quality arts-based learning significantly improve social and emotional wellbeing; meanwhile, critically underdeveloped reading and writing skills can result in the experiences of children from marginalised cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds being ignored or misunderstood, leaving them feeling isolated and silenced.
Here at Audrey, we believe that everyone should have the freedom to communicate their ideas, emotions and needs – a truly inspiring world comes from hearing a full spectrum of voices. That’s why we’re getting behind Story Factory, a fantastic not-for-profit organisation that promotes literacy for marginalised young people between 7 to 17 years old. Collaborating with schools and community groups all around the Sydney region, they run creative writing workshops to help develop confidence and critical skills for some of the most vulnerable children and teenagers in our community.
Since opening in 2012, Story Factory has taken more than 17,500 student enrolments. They work with over 800 students each week from their two creative writing centres – one in Redfern and one in Parramatta – and offer in-school programs right across the Sydney area. With a goal of running a further two year-long residency programs for up to 200 children at Western Sydney schools, they’re now running their annual Pen to Paper Challenge – an inspiring and exciting fundraising event that everyone can join.
From 23rd May to 26th May, you’ll be challenged to complete a piece of creative writing over one weekend, and with four challenges to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Sign up for the Non-fiction Challenge and write a memoir, essay, or opinion piece of 1,200 words or more. For the lyrically inclined, you can try the Poetry Challenge, with a goal of completing 6 poems. If you’ve been daydreaming about your unwritten novel, you can take on the Fiction Challenge – you’ll end the weekend with 3,000 words on paper. And if you’re dipping a toe into the wordsmith pool, you can sign up as a New Creative. You’ll receive 6 diverse writing tasks at the start of the challenge – each is a prompt that Story Factory students receive to inspire their writing.
Then you just create your fundraising page and share with your networks, friends and family. Every bit helps so whether you raise a little or a lot, Story Factory would love to have you on board. You’ll receive fundraising tips, creativity starters, and a survival pack with a fresh writing notebook ready to be filled with your unique voice. The challenge will culminate with events held in Parramatta and Redfern so you can join the community fun and count down the last minutes together with new friends.
If you’d like to help Story Factory reach their target but can’t participate yourself, you can support Audrey editor Carly’s campaign by donating here. She’ll be participating in the Non-Fiction Challenge, documenting the challenge weekend and writing a personal essay that will be posted here once the challenge is complete.
Lovatts Media believes in the power of words to improve people’s lives and are proud to announce will match the total raised by Carly dollar for dollar, ensuring the vulnerable in our community have the opportunity to express their stories.
Visit Story Factory’s Pen to Paper Challenge to find out more and to register as a participant. We can’t wait to share in this wonderful event with you!
*name has been changed