Why You Should Know: Vivian Lee Croft
Croft, founder of Girls Write Pittsburgh, mentors teenage girls.
photo courtesy vivian lee croft
Vivian Lee Croft
Founder, Girls Write Pittsburgh
About: Croft has a long list of titles: director of social impact at New Sun Rising, board member of Haitian Families First, yogi and caregiver to a mother with Alzheimer’s. The latest is “mentor to teenage girls” through Girls Write Pittsburgh, a project of New Sun Rising, which was formed one year ago this month.
- Girls Write Pittsburgh meets once per week at the Brookline Teen Outreach Center and once at Assemble in Garfield for writing workshops; every three months they’ll take a field trip or participate in a larger workshop related to a genre, whether it be poetry, comedy, songwriting or another creative endeavor.
- Croft says she had a troubled childhood without strong mentors, which led to her wanting to form Girls Write Pittsburgh. “Teenagers, in a lot of situations, maybe don’t recognize they have a choice in every minute,” she says.
- The Brookline Teen Outreach Center offers a counseling service, which turned out to play a big role in the program — each weekly workshop there and at Assemble is led by professional writers and a therapist. “Things were going to come up over the course of the writing,” Croft says. “The workshops turned into writing/therapy sessions.”
- A few months after the group formed, it received a $1,000 grant from Awesome Pittsburgh then a $1,500 grant from Barrelhouse. ”We were able to find some legitimacy in the fact we had a good idea and the fact that it’s a necessary and vital resource for the girls,” Croft says. “We’re providing them platforms for publishing their work, but we’re giving them a voice. … We’re helping them grow into the women they’re going to be in this community.”