Our Testimonials: What Others Say About TWC:
“They wanted to hear from us and they didn’t want us to sugar coat it. I think I already had my voice, but this organization gave us the place to scream it from the rooftops. When you live in these marginalized communities, you carry such a huge burden on your shoulders. Writing is the healthiest way to express yourself. I’m so proud that I made it out alive.”
—Jillann Mignon, participant and the winner of the 2014 Words from the Street contest
The Toronto Writers Collective is an inspiring group where participants and facilitators meet weekly to write and share their writing. We are all writers and communicators and when we were young there was time for creative writing. The Toronto Writers Collective provides some structure for the group and a welcoming environment for writers to share their creative pieces. I am often pleasantly surprised by each writers’ style, interpretation, and storytelling techniques as we read aloud our work.I highly recommend the TWC – while people work out their bodies in the gym – the TWC is a great work out for the mind and the imagination. –
To Whom It May Concern: Since Susan asked to host the Express Yourself program at Mustard Seed, I have observed some of our very “wounded’ participants. I have been entrusted with stories of parental neglect, rejection that make me marvel that the persons have survived at all! Some of them have opted to participate in Express Yourself. Each week when they finish I see a joy, a belief in themselves slowly growing. They love reading to me and others the writing that Susan’s prompts elicited from them. I was invited this month to the awards evening at U of T and was moved to tears by what the participants had written and had affirmed by the hearers. Blessings on the great work!
Sister Gwen Smith, Director of Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries, Sisters of St. Joseph, Toronto. 791 Queen St. E. Toronto.
“Snap on your seatbelts! Stereotypes of homeless women are about to experience a fender bender! Lori Luther and Sandy Padmore from the Toronto Writers Collective—experienced facilitators who offer a supportive writing space to people deprived of a voice in our society—are providing writing ‘prompts’ to a group of 11 residents of Fred Victor Women’s Hostel.
“There’s a buzz of conversation to start but the room soon quietens. Participants are reminded of the rules for giving feedback. Each of the women have pen and paper and wait attentively to hear the prompt, a poem or quotation that helps them make the leap from listening to writing.
“On one Tuesday evening in March, prompts included a quotation about feeling beautiful to yourself, another quotation about the experience of writing, and a poem about being assertive.
“While the women were writing in 15- to 20- minute bursts, the room was filled with concentrated silence. What flowed out of the women’s written reflections was nothing short of a stunning sea of honesty, resilience, and beauty.
“The Writers Collective is in the planning stages of publishing workshop participants’ written pieces on their website and organizing collaborative public readings of participants’ work. This is the Collective’s way of promoting civic engagement and social transformation.”
—Excerpt of an article in the Fred Victor newsletter by Carol Watson, Communications and Fundraising Manager
“Finally people are listening to me.”
—Ken Rosser, workshop participant
“I was so proud of ourMustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries, Sisters of St. Joseph, Toronto group and I know how thrilled they all were with their accomplishments. When I heard those voices yesterday and thought about what the writers have been through, I felt the real impact of what we are doing in TWC. It’s humbling to have a small part in this incredible healing process.”
—Maxanne Ezer, TWC facilitator
“I left the workshop with some great tools on how to give positive feedback to a writer. Thank you for that. Sometimes, as writers, we are so critical of our work to the point where we have this fight or flight instinct about it and any negative feedback could put us in either mode. Whereas positive feedback transforms that fight or flight into something (yes I will say it) magical … and uplifting so the writer isn’t beating themselves up over their own words.”
—Workshop participant, The 519
“I never imagined that the participants would benefit as much as they did. Their realization that they are ‘good’ and are appreciated was wondrous to behold.”
—Joel Sacke, Words from the Street contest volunteer
“I started [submitting to the contest] because the money is significant, but now I’m feeling more that it’s about the actual skill of writing. What I gained is more than any amount of money can bring.”
—Max Hutton, Ve’ahavta Street Academy student