Mentoring and tutoring projects

The Writers House hosts on-site tutoring projects, organizes book drives, and works hard to connect our community with volunteer opportunities. Do you have questions about volunteering? Want to hear about new outreach developments at KWH? Interested in helping out and generating ideas? Email our Outreach Coordinator, Kate Herzlin with your questions and ideas, and check out the projects below.


WriteOn! is a children's literacy program generously supported by Brian and Jerilyn Perman. We work with the Lea Elementary school and the Penn Alexander school to bring Penn students and West Philadelphia youth together in a meaningful way. For more information, contact

Write Corp

WriteCorp is a group of UPenn students with a passion for writing, creativity, and kids. Our members work with local teachers to design and conduct creative writing workshops in classrooms and assist students with writing projects. We aim to engage Penn students in the local community, assert the importance of creativity in curriculum and classrooms, improve writing skills, and meet the specific requests of teachers.

The Blacktop

The Blacktop is an online literary magazine for elementary, middle, and high school students in Philadelphia. The Blacktop encourages creative expression by offering young writers an opportunity to publish their work in a non judgmental setting and share it with friends, family, teachers, and the community. The Blacktop seeks to celebrate student writing and assert the value of all student voices. Visit us at

Alumni Mentors

The Alumni Mentors Program pairs Penn students with volunteer alumni mentors who work as novelists, editors, publishers, literary agents, screenplay writers for film and television, poets, playwrights, feature writers, humanities teachers in public and private schools, journalists, administrators of arts organizations, university professors, freelance writers, spoken-word performers, arts activists, cartoonists, and in many other capacities.

Other Volunteering Opportunities

Consider becoming a writing workshop leader or after school mentor for Spells Writing Center or Mighty Writers. Both are local non-profit organizations aimed at empowering Philadelphia elementary, middle, and high school students through creative writing. Neither requires a regular time commitment and both are very flexible. Our KWH liaison with these organizations is Kate Herzlin.

Special Events

The KWH regularly hosts book and supply drives, spelling bees, and other special events to benefit local non-profit programs and our community members volunteer for various literacy projects. If you are interested in working with us or have ideas, please contact Kate Herzlin.

Saturday Reading Cooperative (currently inactive)

The Saturday Reading Cooperative was a literacy program run by Penn students, in collaboration with Lea Elementary School, at 47th and Locust Streets in West Philadelphia. The program is basically designed to expose kids to print material, as well as target communication and writing skills, and non-violence.

Brave Star Collective (currently inactive)

The Brave Star Collective was a volunteer mentoring program that matched bright, creative teenage girls from University City High School and West Philadelphia High School with writers affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. Through weekly one-on-one mentoring sessions, monthly genre-based workshops held at Kelly Writers House, special readings and field trips, the program provided a safe and supportive environment where girls could expand their natural writing talents, develop independent creative voices, and build confidence in making healthy choices in school, career, and life.

Penn and Ink (currently inactive)

Penn and Ink was an innovative creative writing project that asked creative, excited and motivated Penn students to lead small groups of high school aged students in North and West Philadelphia public high schools. The goal: to get the students writing and to encourage critical thinking.