If you're reading this blog, there's no need for me to preach about the importance of written word. Sadly, so many children in our country aren't given the proper tools to embrace language. Fantastic organizations like 826chi exist exactly for this reason, and I couldn't be happier to be a volunteer there. But it'd been a while since my last visit, so this challenge gave me just the kick in the pants that I needed to sign up for a recent workshop. The purpose of the three-hour session was to help inner-city high school seniors work on their college entrance essays. I left the experience with a few things on my mind: 1. I don't know how my husband, a former 9th grade biology teacher, handled kids with such patience and persistence! Let's just say it took them a long while to warm up to the process. 2. Most of them genuinely want a better life for themselves, but they don't know how to get there, so the need for positive and encouraging (but realistic) mentors is huge. 3. We take our education for granted. My love for language was sparked by my parents and encouraged by so many teachers along the way, who rarely get the credit they deserve. I recently found my journal from third grade (see below), which I filled with hilarious stories plus plans of ways to torture my brother ("I'd wrap him up with tape and cover his mouth!"...sorry Graham). I also described that when trees lose their leaves, "they look like someone has moved and is very sad" (I'd moved a few months prior to writing that entry). Even back then, writing was my creative outlet, and it can be for so many other children, too, if they're given the tools and encouragement they need to succeed.