100 Story Building: A Brighter Future for Marginalised Young Writers

The 100 Story Building responds to social needs in the inner-western suburbs of Melbourne. Our social purpose is to improve wellbeing and opportunities for socio-economically disadvantaged children and young people. We will do this by engaging these children and young people (aged 6–17 years) in creative writing and publishing programs that will build their literacy skills and encourage them to take ownership of their achievements. In doing so, we will promote their confidence and sense of belonging, both critical elements for healthy development and ongoing wellbeing and

The 100 Story Building will also provide a physical space for literacy development support that will encourage connection with the wider community, broader engagement with literacy and improved opportunities for disadvantaged children.

100 Story Building is an initiative of Pigeons, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2009 by Lachlann Carter and Jenna Williams. In 2011, Jessica Tran, an experienced publishing sales manager and long-time Pigeons volunteer, joined Jenna and Lachlann to establish 100 Story Building. Dedicated to supporting disadvantaged children and young people in Melbourne’s inner-west to develop their writing and reading skills and foster their creative expression, in October 2012 Pigeons began trading as 100 Story Building.

100 Story Building is a new social enterprise and centre for young writers. The first of its kind in Melbourne, the centre will deliver free creative writing excursions, publishing projects and after-school programs to more than 1000 children and young people from CALD and marginalised communities in the first year. 100 Story Building will open in March 2013, with a lease currently being sought in either Footscray or Flemington.

Hosted by Triple R FM’s Ben Birchall, with author ambassadors, Alice Pung and Sally Rippin, the public launch will be an opportunity to learn about 100 Story Building’s free programs, classes for purchase and how volunteers can contribute to this unique social enterprise and community hub.
The enterprise has already earned some high-profile supporters including Shaun Tan, Alice Pung, Nicki Greenberg, Sally Rippin and Ben Birchell. Publishers Penguin, Hardie Grant Egmont, Black Inc. and Text Publishing, and social enterprise non-profit Social Traders have also thrown their weight behind the centre.
100 Story Building’s programs will support the efforts of schools, parents and communities to engage students in reading and writing, contributing to the sense of belonging and confidence fundamental to these students’ future success. ‘I understand how important this organisation is to fostering the self-esteem and self-respect of kids, some of whom may not have grown up with literature in the house, or even literate parents’, says author and 100 Story Building ambassador Alice Pung. ‘Being a writer from the suburbs of Braybrook and Footscray, I have seen firsthand the effects of early-age voicelessness, alienation and frustration which often results in early school-leaving.’
100 Story Building will bring together young writers and members of Melbourne’s creative
community, and encourage them to share in their skills and experiences. This exchange informs creative expression and writing practice of both students and volunteers.
To support its operations, 100 Story Building will also offer classes for purchase. All profits are used to keep our programs for disadvantaged children and young people free and accessible.

Classes include:
• 100 Story Studios: 1-day masterclass for adults on writing for children, delivered by
award-winning authors and publishing professionals. March-May program authors
include authors Alice Pung and Michael Pryor, and publisher partner Hardie Grant
• 100 Story Holidays: unique school holiday workshops for kids aged 8-12 years. Kids
create their own take-home books and comics.

Significant data shows students who are provided with an arts-rich education achieve higher levels of literacy, have higher levels of confidence and self-worth, and are more likely to be intrinsically motivated to engage with their communities. Conversely, youth and children from low socio-economic backgrounds are likely to struggle to gain strong literacy levels. In turn, they are less likely to confidently engage in broader society and experience a sense of belonging.

Would you like to get involved? Would you like to know more? You are invited to join the team at 100 Story Building program launch – Tuesday 30th October, 7:30pm – 8:15pm The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, 3000

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