PressFriends: Making Friends While Making Writing Fun
Children in higher need areas lack extracurricular opportunities that will help them improve their writing skills and provide creative outlets that allow them to expand and utilize their knowledge as well as develop self confidence, which is the ultimate foundation for success.
PressFriends fills the need for a free, extracurricular program that not only improves writing skills, but is so much fun that elementary students join in third grade and stay in until fifth grade. And when they enter middle school, many are signing up to volunteer as mentors.
PressFriends are middle and high school kids who work with higher need elementary students in developing, writing, and publishing a school or program newspaper. PressFriends help guide students in developing story ideas – anything from school events to stories about recycling or reviews of the latest fashion. They take them through brainstorming, writing and editing articles. This is done with lots of games, speakers, and special activities, so that the sessions are fun for both the mentors and the elementary student reporters.
Formed in 2008 by six middle school students, PressFriends was established to guide higher need kids in creating their own school paper. PressFriends’ mission is to make writing fun for elementary school kids, to empower every kid to become a leader and mentor, and to create friendships among youth from diverse backgrounds.
PressFriends has grown rapidly and now has over 250 middle and high school volunteers from ten different schools who work with over 350 young students in five Title I elementary schools, three public libraries, and two Boys and Girls Clubs. PressFriends currently publishes ten elementary school newspapers and prints 12,000 copies of newspapers a year.
PressFriends works for a number of reasons. First, studies have shown that students are more motivated to write about subjects that they not only like, but that also strike a personal emotion within them. Second, peer mentoring is proven as an effective way of teaching and motivating children. And finally, using the development of a newspaper as project-based learning is very effective. The enticement of being published has been a huge motivating factor for the elementary student reporters, as well as tangible reaffirmation to the middle and high school mentors that they are making a difference. A parent told PressFriends that her son has never enjoyed writing before but cannot wait to work on his newspaper articles. The site coordinator for one of the Boys & Girls Clubs explained that she noticed marked improvement in the student reporters’ verbal communication skills. PressFriends typically is the only academic offering in afterschool programs.
PressFriends is an all-volunteer organization, successfully created by kids, for kids.
More About This Charity
PressFriends, a project of Community Partners
PressFriends was formed by kids for kids. Our mission is to make writing fun for elementary school kids, to empower every kid to become a leader and mentor, and to create friendships among youth from diverse backgrounds.
- This Achievement raised $42,000
- This Charity has raised $15,000 in the past year
- This Achievement helped 1000 kids
- Over 1000 elementary students mentored by over 200 middle and high school students, over 20,000 newspapers published for over 12,000 students