Thursday, February 26, 2009

Capitol City Young Writers

I'm very happy to introduce Verna Dreisbach, President of Capitol City Young Writers. She wrote to tell me about the non-profit she heads up and it sounded like something Straight From Hel readers would want to know about, so I asked her to tell us about CCYW.

In addition to heading up Capitol City Young Writers, Verna is the founder of Dreisbach Literary Management. She’s also an award winning published author who has been featured in books, literary journals, magazines, and newspapers. She not only is the Founder and President of CCYW, she serves on the board of directors for the CSUS Writers Conference in Sacramento, CA. In what's left of her spare time, she's pursuing her MA degree in creative writing.

Please help me welcome Verna. Afterward, leave her a comment or ask a question about Capitol City Young Writers.

Capitol City Young Writers (CCYW) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring writers, primarily in grades 6 through 12, although limited memberships are available for younger writers. Started in Northern California in 2008, CCYW's goal is to educate today's youth across the United States (and ultimately internationally) on the art and craft of writing and related literary fields, and to encourage talented, young people to pursue their writing and literary dreams. Currently, we have international members in Canada, the UK and Germany. CCYW also fosters opportunity to learn about and experience what it takes to enter a literary career such as editing or broadcast journalism. From fiction and non-fiction, to poetry, screenwriting, memoir, songwriting and broadcast radio, students are supported through day-long workshops bringing professionals and mentors to youth in local communities, through online tutorials, through annual conferences, a youth written and edited literary journal, writing and audio competitions, and mentoring for both journey-level and master-level youth writers.

As a membership organization, CCYW is building a base of aspiring writers and professionals, encouraging networking and peer support, and matching college-aged and professional writers and literary professionals with talented scribes. The objective is to foster creative talents, develop professional skills and savvy, and help connect young writers and motivated youth, merging opportunity, knowledge, and a social network they can rely upon as their educational and professional careers advance. It's all about working to make quality literature and quality literary writing opportunities more available to youth of today, hopefully helping to sustain the ubiquity of quality narrative.

Educators are also an important gateway to identifying and inspiring creative voices and so are especially encouraged to participate formally or informally. The CCYW board and mentors are all volunteers and are actively seeking youth advisors and educational mentors, as well as facilitators interested in hosting member meetings in capitol cities across the US. Members publish several youth works each year and also seek young writers for their newsletters and membership communications.

As a nonprofit, CCYW relies upon the generous support of individuals and public and private organizations. Memberships are $25 annually, with a reduced rate for sponsors who are educators. Scholarships are also available for youth with financial restrictions.

If you or someone you know would like to become involved, contact Verna Dreisbach, President at

For more information, visit

Thank you very much, Verna. And thank the Board for doing such wonderful work. The Comments section is now open!


  1. Verna,

    I got tired just reading your list of activities. You must be one organized gal!

    CCYW sounds like a fantastic organization for young writers. I wish you and your young charges much success.

  2. Now that sounds like a much-needed organization! Writing is one field where there's not a lot of career-building advice floating around, especially for young people. They need to know all the options available, not just writing & publishing a book.

    I wish them much success!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  3. "Write On!": I have always seen that flier in the Sacramento libraries. Good organization. Reminds me of the Zimbabwe Budding Writers Association, which has been in existence since 1990 and has produced award-winning authors.

  4. Wow - Verna - GREAT what you and your people are doing! THIS is the kind of thing we need more of in our society. Kudos fo sho. And thanks for posting this feature, Helen.

  5. Verna,

    Thanks for what you're doing for young writers.

    I'm involved with a writing competition for young writers (junior high and high school). Prizes include cash, e-book readers, and gift certificates, but teachers have told us the most important benefit is the feedback judges give. Each entry is judged by three judges (writers, editors, teachers, and librarians) in the first round, and judges are required to provide feedback that is both helpful and encouraging.

    If you would like to share this with young writers in your program, you can find more information at

    Winning entries are also published in an anthology, and the kids are always thrilled to have their work published.

  6. This is a great program. I once taught in the Poetry in the Schools Program and know how important it is to stimulate children's imaginations and encourage their creativity.

  7. Wonderful post, Helen. And young writers also are young readers--it's great to see such fun support!

  8. Verna, I commend you on your commitment to help young writers. One of the greatest joys for me as a writer is to mentor a young person. I have met several aspiring writers when doing book fairs at area high schools, and invariably the high point is the young person who comes up with an eager expression, clutching a folder of papers and wants to talk about writing.


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