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How you can help

If you feel inspired to encourage almost five hundred primary school students in Melbourne's northern suburbs develop their writing and creative thinking skills there are a number of ways that you can become involved.

Accolades
Contribute
Events and News
Volunteering
Wish List

Donations received from:

Supportive Business

The following businesses and organizations have actively supported the writing passport program by providing realistic inducements to encourage students to engage and improve their writing and creative thinking skills. This support is gratefully received and acknowledged.

Hoyts Cinema Northland
Ivanhoe Bicycles.
McDonalds - Kingsbury
Michele Pariza Wacek: Marketing
Safeway - Summerhill Village Reservoir

Supportive Individuals

Gabe Cyr Soul Food Patron
Lois Daley Soul Food Patron
Viv Bibby Soul Food Patron
Dawn Mack former LaTrobe Staff
Belinda Parker LaTrobe Parent
Michele Pariza Wacek Soul Food

Profile of a Volunteer

Meet Michele Pariza Wacek, Soul Food's in-house copywriter and marketer and find out more about creative marketing and copywriting.

Michele Pariza Wacek began writing professionally in 1993 and launched Creative Concepts and Copywriting, a writing, marketing and creativity agency, in 1998. Going into business was the best decision Michele ever made. She discovered a passion for combining her creativity with her writing ability and marketing knowledge to help her clients grow their businesses. And she can teach you to do the same.Discover her free articles, exercises and resources at Writing USA.

Michele has been generously volunteering her expertise and is supporting the development of this Writing Passport Program.

Primary Contact for more information.

Mrs Heather Blakey
The Writing Passport Program
La Trobe Secondary College Waiora Road,
Macleod West,3085 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

heatherblakey@iprimus.com.au

Writing Passport Program

Children wearing their hopes, colouring their wishes, naming and drawing their dreams. The Writing Passport Program is an educational, non-profit incentive dedicated to fostering social resilience and the healing effect of the creative arts.

Since 1999 LaTrobe Secondary College has supported a program that has seen Mrs Heather Blakey teaching in a number of primary school classrooms, providing an innovative writing program that positively impacts on literacy levels.

Students from Epping Primary, Haig Street Primary, Olympic Village Primary, Keon Park Primary,Preston East Primary, Preston North East Primary, Reservoir East Primary School, Bellfield Primary and Kingsbury Primary School have participated in a range of imaginative, fun activities designed and presented by Heather Blakey. These activities draw on a range of learning styles and introduce students to a variety of writing genres which they will be expected to use frequently during their education.

The Writing Passport Program helps students express themselves freely and effectively unlocks creative potential. It is based on the notion that there are simple devices, which stimulate the imagination and induce a remarkable stream of writing from students of all abilities. Indeed, staff have expressed delight after witnessing students, who sometimes struggle with the writing process, gain confidence in their ability to write.

The writing program debunks any beliefs that only the talented can write. It makes writing accessible and provides real reasons to communicate thoughts and feelings and to share stories. It puts the fun back into the fundamentals of the craft and engages everyone, teacher and student alike.

After each activity students write in silence for ten minutes, monitor change from the previous week and are stunned to see how much quality writing they can produce in such a short time.

Both students and the class teacher read what they have written and students are delighted to see their teacher wrestle with the same task. Positive feedback builds self-confidence and students experience a flush of success. At the conclusion of the session they discuss the 'secret' techniques and identify what worked especially well for them. They are encouraged to use the techniques again, to see if the 'magic' endures and to make it a part of their writing practice.

Two highly successful projects were the Hiss-tory Snake and Rear Vision Mirror projects which led to students doing personal writing which could be taken with them to secondary school. Indeed, all the activities are designed to show students that the tasks often remain the same and that it is only the skill level which changes. Primary School students can view Year 12 students working on similar tasks in virtual workbooks. They are intrigued and encouraged to find that those students are employing similar techniques in their final year of schooling.

There are numerous benefits associated with the writing program. Apart from the obvious benefit of learning strategies which can be employed in secondary school, students engage in a publishing process at The Soul Food Cafe, the website that was built as a resource for writers of all ages. Students can become a part of a vibrant, supportive writing community. They can participate in Cafe writing forums and have the opportunity to establish a virtual writing folio to display their work.

Another bonus is that The Soul Food Cafe is patronised by celebrated writers and artists who are actively involved in the site and have used some of the some of the same techniques to provide stimulation for their writing and artwork. This demonstrates that the techniques used in these sessions are applicable to all, from the young student to the professional artist.

At the conclusion of the program students receive a 'passport' that identifies them as having gained citizenship. Their passport states that they may identify themselves as a writer.

So all aboard! Clamber aboard the zany Writing Tram , sample just a little of the magic that is so much a part of this vibrant program and receive your writing passport. '

Heather Blakey.

The Seeding Spark by Heather Blakey sheds further light on the philosophy behind the Writing Passport Program.