Community Writing Projects

The Writers House hosts on-site creative writing projects, organizes book drives, and works hard to connect with Philadelphia communities through writing. Interested in helping out and generating ideas? Contact us with your questions and ideas, and check out the projects below.

Word Camp

Word Camp invites young writers in grades 3–8 to participate in a free, online writing camp. In every workshop, writers will read fun sample pieces, work on projects that they’re excited about, and meet other kids who share their interests. No writing experience necessary — just passion. Find registration details for July 2020 and August 2020 here.

Write On!

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

Writing A Life

Writing a Life is a creative writing workshop held once a month at KWH. It was created to offer cancer patients the opportunity to explore their experiences through writing and shared discussion. Because of confidentiality concerns, the group is open only to people with a cancer diagnosis, past or present. For more information, write to Deborah Burnham ( for more information.


KWH hosts transcribez, a monthly creative writing group for trans and gender non-conforming youth (ages 14–22), which is facilitated by trans and gender non-conforming writers from Philadelphia and beyond. Contact Andrew Spiers if you are trans or gender non-conforming and would like to participate in transcribez.

FreeWrite Prison Writing Group

FreeWrite was a creative writing group that CPCW Artist-in-Residence Rachel Zolf and several Penn students facilitated with women at the Federal Detention Center in Center City from 2016-2019


KWH community members also volunteer with several Philadelphia non-profit agencies devoted to writing, literacy and art education that would welcome your ideas and energy. Here are just a few important programs.


Mighty Writers offers free programming to teach Philadelphia’s students to “think and write with clarity.” Students participate in short and long-term writing classes, college and essay preparation, and writing mentorships. College student volunteers can be writing tutors, writing mentors or workshop leaders for K-12 students. Email Khalia Robinson at Mighty Writers West or


Philadelphia Futures is a nonprofit organization that provides Philadelphia’s low-income, first generation-to-college students with the tools, resources, and opportunities necessary for admission to and success in college. You can get involved by becoming a summer intern, reading buddy, or weekly tutor. Contact Ellen Solomon, Volunteer Coordinator.


The Petey Greene Program supports students enrolled in education programs in prisons, jails, through one-on-one tutoring. Petey Greene partners with Penn to recruit, train, and coordinate volunteers. Tutors commit to weekly sessions of supporting students in a variety of subjects and from the pre-GED to GED and high-school level. For more information, contact Emma Sindelar.


Spells Writing Lab offers literacy programs for K-12 students, including classroom visits focused on creative writing and revision, after-school programs, weekend writing workshops, and a summer day camp. All their programs are free, and many incorporate other artistic disciplines such as music, film, or the visual arts to inspire young writers. Contact for information on volunteering.


Art Sanctuary is a community-based organization and gallery that focuses on art and outreach in the black community in Philadelphia. Founded by writer and Penn professor Lorene Cary, Art Sanctuary is dedicated to bringing Philadelphians together through the unique community-building power of black art. They provide different opportunities to volunteer, from helping with school art projects to working in the gallery or for the Celebration of Black Arts Festival. See or email


ArtWell supports young people through multidisciplinary arts education and creative reflection to discover their strengths, face complex challenges, and awaken their dreams. Art Well’s longest running program, We the Poets, helps students build literacy, communication, and self-expression skills, and fosters a love of learning through poetry. ArtWell also has a youth poetry slam team. Email: or fill out the online volunteer interest form.


If you are artistically inclined, you may be interested in Philadelphia’s renowned Mural Arts Program, which supports community building through public art and restorative justice. See for opportunities. Email