Project Verb: Transformative Writing Encounters creates opportunities for diverse residents of Oakland and surrounding communities to tell their stories, write poetry or prose, and experience their own creativity through unique workshops and projects developed and facilitated by Mills students. This teaching opportunity for Mills English graduate students was launched in 2003 with the work of Anna Mantzaris, MFA '04, the support of Professor Elmaz Abinader, and a grant from the Irvine Foundation. It was formerly called The Community Teaching Project (CTP).
In the fall, Mills students enroll in a semester-long course that provides training in arts education pedagogy, project design, workshop facilitation, and collaboration techniques. In direct relationship with Bay Area communities and organizations, and sensitive to their particular needs and goals, Project Verb students/facilitators will develop community-driven projects and plan towards writing and reading programs to be realized in the following semester. Project Verb facilitators will work with closely with experienced faculty, community-art practitioners, the Project Verb coordinator, and their fellow classmates in the development of their projects.
Every spring, the Project Verb facilitators implement their projects in various venues, including after-school programs, senior centers, jails and re-entery programs, libraries, and domestic violence shelters. As volunteers, Project Verb facilitators simultaneously gain teaching experience and offer their skills and facilities to collaborate with and support under-resourced communities. During the spring semester, Project Verb facilitators work independently, with close communication and guidance from the Project Verb coordinator and their community sites, to enact their unique visions of transformative writing encounters. Students may complete two spring teaching semesters.
If you are interested in taking a community workshop, or having a Mills student volunteer teach at your organization, please contact Tessa Micaela Landreau-Grasmuck, the Project Verb Coordinator via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.