Our daughter participated in the Fall 2017 Ambassadors Program. She went with the hope and expectation that the weekly meetings would help hone her skills as a writer. Although I do believe that was one of the benefits to the weekly meetings, I think she also gained confidence in herself through sharing of her thoughts and ideas with the group. She met and made friends with an amazing group of teens from diverse backgrounds. The group found common ground through their shared love of writing, and through their shared experiences of being young adults in this world.
One of the highlights for our daughter was meeting and interviewing young refugees recently relocated to the U.S. It was so timely with immigration issues in the news to be able to meet people who are intimately affected by those issues, as well as war, and the challenges of relocating thousands of miles away from everything familiar. To gain that perspective was invaluable, and will stay with her for a long time. At the final meeting, my husband and I attended the presentation by students of written works they produced. I was so moved by the thoughtful insightfulness of these young people. Thank you One Earth Writing for this fantastic opportunity for our daughter!
Parent, Howell, Michigan
I began the One Earth Writing Ambassadors program unsure of what was to come, as I'd never served as an "ambassador" before. The future months consisted of many writing workshops, in which we ambassadors discussed and analyzed some amazing literature, and also wrote pieces of our own. I know that my growth as a writer this year can largely be attributed to OEW and those amazing writing sessions. It's amazing how much being exposed to other people's perspectives and writing styles can improve your own writing. My favorite session consisted of tasting (and smelling) food from various origins, discussing the importance of food within our own cultures and then writing about it all. It was a unique experience that I never could have gotten in a standard literature class, or anywhere else.
Over time, through leadership activities and workshops within the community, I also found myself more comfortable taking on leadership roles, starting conversations and contributing to discussions. No matter one's writing level, OEW is the perfect environment if you are looking to gain confidence in writing and speaking, bridge gaps between cultures and share some laughs with peers. It's also the perfect environment if you are looking to challenge social norms through your words. The most important thing that OEW has taught me is that words are unifying and powerful. Because of this, I'll never, ever take mine for granted.
Ambassador 2016-2017, Detroit Resident, International Academy East, Class of 2017
I absolutely loved being part of the Ambassador program! As a teen, I know how crucial it is that we have an outlet to express ourselves, and One Earth does just that. We were allowed to write in any way we wanted and weren’t told to stay within certain margins like we are too often told to do. We were given complete freedom. Lynne, Christina, and Dana are incredibly selfless, kind, and welcoming and ensured that we got as much out of this program as possible. My fellow ambassadors are very close friends now, and I am so glad that I met them! I would highly recommend this program to anyone and everyone!!
2017 Fall Ambassador Graduate, Dundee High School, Class of 2021
It was a real growth opportunity and pleasure to watch our daughter express herself through writing and think deeper about different concepts while learning writing skills. It's not just improving writing and experiencing different styles of writing. This program is also for those teens who want to make opportunities and a great chance to forge connections. What a great team at One Earth Writing!
Parent, Grand Blanc, Michigan
One Earth Writing has been an amazing experience. I didn’t think it would affect me as much as it did. It truly helped increase my writing skills and my overall passion for writing. I felt that my creativity increased over time with the aid of opportunities and people I met throughout the program. It was truly an awesome experience, and I encourage anyone who loves to write to try it out.
2017 Fall Ambassador Graduate, Bloomfield Hills resident, Detroit Country Day School, Class of 2019
One Earth Writing has helped me so much. From helping me express my thoughts and speaking up, to giving me the opportunity to interview refugees, to questioning an actual author, I have learned so much and grown my writing in so many ways. I am so thankful to have been a part of this amazing organization!!
2017 Fall Ambassador Graduate, Grand Blanc, Michigan
My experience with One Earth Writing has been nothing short of incredible. When I first signed up to do the program, I was expecting a simple, month by month writing session and that's it. I wasn't expecting anything different but I'm glad I was proven wrong. The entirety of the program has taken something I've loved for so long and created a unique and more current approach to its methods of use. I've always loved writing and I've always loved applying my skills of writing in the real world and One Earth Writing has helped do that for me.
Without One Earth Writing, I wouldn't have been able to meet some of the incredible people I did through the connections we've made just by the tips of our pencils. Lynne's creation of the program helped me expand my writing abilities in ways I wasn't able to think about and taught me the different implements of writing in our society. She created a safe space that is accepting of all individuals, regardless of background, to speak freely and openly about their mind and use their opinions on real world scenarios. One Earth helped me loved meet with refugees and individuals of other faiths and taught me how writing can connect people in these situations. Before One Earth, my thinking with the application of writing had been very one-dimensional. Now, it's multi-cultured, dimensional, religious, and more, and I love that.
Ambassador 2016-2017, International Academy East, Class of 2018
One Earth Writing is an exciting project that allows students to feel the connection between their hearts and minds, as individuals and as classmates. My students expressed their enjoyment of writing about their lives, and having the opportunity to share their stories with others. Their only recommendation to improve the program is to have it more often.
Lynne Golodner is a great collaborator in the classroom. She took into account my students' needs and interests, as well as connecting the material to our curriculum. The use of mentor texts introduces students to expert writers, providing a recipe for great writing and expanding their awareness of the richness of language and its creative forms. Though our writing was framed as a classroom exercise, students were moved to freely articulate their life experience into their work making it meaningful.
Hamtramck High School
My family and I are so impressed by this program and the wonderful people we have met through my daughter's experience in being an Ambassador. One Earth Writing is made up of caring, selfless people who are so welcoming and uplifting. My daughter Janey loved the sessions, retreats, and guest speakers. She made so many new friends, friends who share her interest in writing and making the world a better place for everyone! This program offers a safe place to be expressive and open, which can sometimes be difficult for teens. Thank you for everything you do and congrats on such a positive program.
The Salenbien Family
I really enjoyed the Ambassador program as it brought me to understand myself and my writing a lot better. It also increased my awareness of those around me and their differing viewpoints on the different goings-on in the world. The diversity of the program shed light on the hardships people may experience when they come from separate backgrounds, or even backgrounds that are similar. I love that it gave me time to think of how to better myself to benefit the world. The future begins with us! Also, I really love the One Faithful World program so far. We have only had one session thus far, but I really liked listening to the guest speaker, and talking with Alisa, One Earth Writing's Board President.
2017 Fall Ambassador Graduate, Mercy High School class of 2019, West Bloomfield resident
Our 8th grade students had a wonderful time participating in the One Earth Writing program with Huda School in Franklin. Like any teenagers, they were initially apprehensive about entering a different community for the first time, and about interacting with students who they assumed would be quite different from them. The program facilitators quickly mixed the kids up and got them sharing with each other, and the ice broke immediately. The students enjoyed the writing activities (we especially liked the letter writing assignment - the kids came up with great proposals together!); even more they loved the new relationships they built. We were grateful for the experience, and are excited to participate again next year!
Administrator, Southwest Detroit Community Schools
One Earth Writing has opened my eyes to diversity. This program has allowed to me to connect with others who love to just write, despite our differences. It has strengthened my writing skills and has helped me to write about different topics in different forms of writing. One Earth Writing has taught me how to use my writing as a tool to change the world.
Ambassador 2016-2017, Bloomfield Hills resident, West Hills Middle School, Class of 2021
The kids loved the way you treated them. So many people come in with the attitude that they are bad kids or have unrealistic expectations for their behavior. Your class made them feel happy and confident. Thank you so much for coming!
Samaritas Community Center, Saginaw, MI
One Earth Writing not only helped me better understand who I am, but more importantly how to communicate that person to the world. I highly recommend the program for anyone looking to understand themselves and those around them better.
2017 Fall Ambassador Graduate, Catholic Central class of 2018, Ann Arbor resident
I enjoyed the writing program because it gave us a chance to talk about our families and about where we’re from, and what we like.
Hamtramck High School, Class of 2010
Ms. Golodner knows how to connect with us.
Hamtramck High School, Class of 2020
I enjoyed that I was able to think about home and know why I appreciated home.
Hamtramck High School, Class of 2020
Ms. Golodner gave us a topic to write about, and we could write whatever we wanted about that topic. She never told us we were wrong, no matter what we wrote.
Hamtramck High School, Class of 2020
My daughter has learned and benefited in so many ways from One Earth Writing. Her writing skills have improved and her perceptive on life is enlightening. She has a greater understanding and respect for other people's culture and life choices. I'm grateful for One Earth Writing and my daughter loves this program.
Angel L. Allen
Parent, West Bloomfield, Michigan
Within a span of several months, each of us has had the opportunity to connect with each other and members of other faiths and communities. While we connected as people, we also connected through our words, understanding their power. One Earth Writing has given me the chance the delve deeper into my writing and meet people that I will remember for a long time. Through this experience I have become a writer more patience, ideas, and motivation to create and amaze. I thank the whole One Earth Writing team for making this experience possible for me! Thank you!
Ambassador 2016-2017, International Academy East, Class of 2018
One Earth Writing has been an amazing experience without a doubt. From food writing to interviewing Syrian refugees, the program has given me opportunities I never would have had without it. My favorite experience was going on TV! One Earth Writing is a light in a world of negativity, that pushes teens in the right direction. Helping to improve writing skills whilst connecting teens across racial, socioeconomic and religious boundaries, One Earth Writing is incredible.
Ambassador 2016-2017, Millennium Middle School, 8th Grade
My daughter, through participating in One Earth Writing's first class of Ambassadors, has had the opportunity to explore her love of writing and do so with a great group of kids interested in bringing people together from various racial, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds. As a parent, guiding her to develop a common understanding, love and respect for others is one of the most important values I feel I can impart and OEW is a wonderful partner in helping me achieve this. During this year, my daughter has had the opportunity to participate in a great variety of events and has developed a greater interest in becoming a leader. I highly recommend OEW; we have had such a great experience!
Parent, Whitmore Lake, Michigan
My daughter, Jillian, is a part of the One Earth Writing Ambassador program for teens and I am grateful that this organization can give her such wonderful opportunities. This program has helped her come to the realization that writing is a huge connector! Since she began with the Ambassador program, Jillian has entered a national writing contest through school (her paper was a letter to Malala discussing how her book I Am Malala impacted her) and she also started her own blog! I am so excited that she will be able to participate in various programs that allow her to interview and connect with refugees and participate in a Muslim-Jewish program! What incredible experiences these promise to be! Thank you for what your program opened for her.
Parent, West Bloomfield, Michigan
Being a One Earth Writing Ambassador helped me grow as a writer, and gave me a space where I can connect with teens who have similar passion as me. For anyone who is interested in trying different writing styles, meeting new people, and hearing advice on how to improve as a writer, I wholeheartedly recommend this program.
Berkley High School, Class of 2018, Huntington Woods resident, 2016-2017 Ambassadors graduate
One Earth Writing has definitely changed my world and my outlook on the world. At first I didn’t think much of it. My grandmother was the one to show me it and tell me to apply for a position as ambassador and from day one I was grateful my grandmother showed me their website. The environment and overall energy of the group was always positive, and not a single bad thing was said. I was the youngest, but that never made me feel left out. The older kids only helped me get better and learn more things about writing and the world around me. I have grown as a writer and as a person from helping refugees write their stories, to helping lead discussions with people of different religions and beliefs. I learned that people are people, and people are equal. I loved every second of it and I can’t wait to come back in the fall.
Berkshire Middle School, 7th Grade
For years I have been imagining a way for our students to reflect on the faith traditions they experience with a deeper hope of these reflections becoming a means for them to understand their shared faith values. I could not be more pleased and thrilled with the addition of One Earth Writing to our Religious Diversity Journeys program. The writing component that we have added to this program is by far the best addition that we could have made. Listening to our 600 students share their reflections and thoughts through stories and poetry has been the most rewarding experience I have had while directing this program. These seventh-graders are truly learning about and understanding one another on a deep and significant level, which would not have been possible without the expertise of Lynne and her One Earth Writing team!
Program Director Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit
Writing in general for me, before One Earth Writing, was bland and dry. I would only write for school assignments, but even if I had time, I never truly conceived the idea of what I could write about. From One Earth Writing, I learned that all writing is creative writing. I even learned how to write about food! Not only has this program made me a more confident writer in my abilities, it has made me a stronger person. Although it is cliche to say so, I really have been impacted by this program. I have realized how important our voices as young teens are, and how they can be amplified through writing. I have learned how to be confident in myself and how to take initiative to stand up for something that I believe in.
2016-2017 Ambassadors graduate, Sterling Heights resident, International Academy East, Class of 2018