The local nonprofit Mighty Writers will celebrate the power of reading and writing for young people in Philly with its first MightyFest, set for Sept. 27 to 30.
The four-day festival will feature a writing carnival outside the Franklin Institute, a soul-music dance party at the Fels Planetarium, a keynote talk, and a gospel breakfast.
Mighty Writers helps students ages 6 to 17 develop writing skills in after-school programs at six Philadelphia locations. The festival is an extension of the organization's efforts to empower youths through the written word.
"MightyFest will show kids what being able to write with clarity can do, and how it can make them feel," Mighty Writers executive director Tim Whitaker said in a statement. "We see what being able to write does for kids every day — grades improve, self-esteem soars, and success follows."
MightyFest will open Sept. 27 with free activities catering to kids in neighborhood libraries. The dance party will be held Sept. 28, priced at $75 and geared toward the young-adult supporters of Mighty Writers.
The free student writing carnival, on Sept. 29, will take place in Aviator Park outside of the Franklin Institute and offer literacy-themed games and activities, which Whitaker calls the "heart and soul of the festival."
That evening, MacArthur Genius Grant fellow Nikole Hannah-Jones, a journalist, will deliver the keynote talk, a $100 ticketed event.
"The speaker portion of the festival is geared toward people who live in the city who care about education and the inequity of the school system," says Whitaker. "We'll spend the night discussing the issues that surround this."
The following morning, Girard College will host a gospel breakfast tribute to the Dixie Hummingbirds. Each ticket is $75 and will help pay for a place at the table for a current Mighty Writers student.
"MightyFest will help us spread the word that writing can take you places, and we'll make it fun in the process," Whitaker said. "We have incredibly storytellers here, and the whole festival is really in celebration of our city's kids."