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She has a dream...

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Why We Write Inc. started with a dream of Dr. Jacqueline Hamilton, an English professor at Eastern Kentucky University.  Jacqueline--better known to students as Mizz JJ--attended a month-long workshop with the National Writing Project in summer 2011 where the concept of summer writing camps for students was explored. She decided to create a week-long daytime camp experience for student writers in Clark County, Kentucky, the next summer. Mizz JJ wanted students to see writing as workable fun that can change both writers and readers for the better. She chose the  name Inkspire Camp as a play on words to convey that idea of inspiring others. Inkspire Camp has developed and refined their programs for ten years, with a growing number of students in 2021 and 2022 attending from nearby counties. With encouragement from students and adults, Inkspire reorganized with a broader scope and broader name--Why We Write Inc. The organization also is now a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) with Mizz JJ as the executive director.  Plans are being made to expand the locations of the camp each year, as well as provide in-service professional development programs to teachers.

 

Her writing experience includes several years as a journalist in South Carolina with state press awards. She also has researched and written two historical monologues for the Chautauqua characters she portrays for the Kentucky Humanities Council—mountain educator Alice Lloyd and best-selling detective novelist Sue Grafton. She wrote a non-fiction short story "The Christmas Chair" in 2012 published in the holiday literary anthology Kentucky's 12 Days of Christmas. Her doctorate work included completing a 110-page resource titled Effective Listening Practices for College Students, which she currently is revising into a paperback book called How To Think Like A Listener. As a result of her listening research work, Mizz JJ permanently added listening skills to Inkspire Camp in 2022. She also teaches creative writing and literary studies for the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program.  

Please feel free to contact her at jacqueline@whywrite.org with any questions or to schedule her as a guest speaker at your organization.

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The teachers share the dream...

Since the beginning of Inkspire in 2012, two teachers--Jennifer Taylor and Jenny Strickland--have steadfastly shared the dream of providing an atmosphere of "writing as workable fun." The three teaching Jays are from left: Mizz Jennifer, Mizz JJ, and Mizz Jenny.  They sometimes call themselves the S'more Sisters based on their hair color of milk chocolate brown, graham cracker blonde, and marshmallow silver. 

The tech and design expert shares the dream...

Thanks to the generosity of Bradley Chem, Inkspire’s website was born last year.  The ability of parents to register through Google Docs and other conveniences makes his work useful. Many of the website photos were taken by him, including the gorgeous homepage photo with the sky lanterns featuring our annual Poetry in Flight night. He also created the  official summer camp logo for Inkspire seen in the upper left corner of each web page.  Bradley currently is a  doctoral student in chemistry education at the University of Northern Colorado. And how did Mizz JJ meet him?  He was a writing student in her C.S. Lewis literature course at EKU.

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Even former students share the dream...

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Inkspire Camp is excited to have three former students, now at three different universities, return to assist our campers.  From left, Meghan Wells, Amy Wright, and Tirzah Schanding display their paintings of Van Gogh’s “Still Life with Apples”—the major art project for Inkspire Camp in 2022. They help in the classroom and assist with art classes, recreation, as well as other camp traditions such as the annual Literary Feast--a food-based writing experience.

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