Editor’s Note: This article is part of BeaverCountian.com’s ongoing series, “The Beaver County Coronavirus Chronicles,” the county’s historical experience of the pandemic. Click here to see more of the series.
Wende Dikec of Brighton Township wears many hats: Wife; mom of three sons, two of whom are in college; blogger for her dog Capone; Beaver Area School Board member; and published author of young-adult novels, as well as women’s fiction under the pen name Abigail Drake. She’s taught a variety of creative writing classes at several local libraries.
She submitted the following to our Chronicles to explain how creative writing might help your children at this stressful time.
Jennifer Cribbs, the children’s librarian at the Beaver Area Memorial Library, has always made an effort to provide outstanding and unusual programs for the youngest members of our community. As a writer, I’ve teamed up with Ms. Cribbs on a regular basis to teach creative writing to middle and high school students. These lessons provide a much-needed outlet for aspiring writers, but during times like these, they provide something else as well.
Writing fiction can give children a vehicle for dealing with fear and uncertainty. It empowers them, because when they create a fictional story, they are in charge, and they can determine the outcome. Unlike journaling, which is also a useful tool, the story isn’t real. Because of this, children feel safe about expressing their worries, and can put on paper things they might not be able to vocalize.
For this reason, Ms. Cribbs and I are joining together to provide online weekly writing classes designed for children aged 10 and up. The lessons will start on Monday.
Our local libraries are doing their best to offer options to help everyone during this difficult and stressful period. The county librarians met on Monday to strategize. Right now, county residents can sign up for a temporary library card, which will enable them to access an abundance of e-resources. Funds are being added to purchase e-books, and many libraries (Aliquippa, Chippewa, and Baden) are stocking nearby Little Free Libraries.
Recently, the Beaver Library provided 370 children’s books via Frye Transportation for the Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department free lunch site. Other libraries are also working on creative ways of meeting community needs, including finding ways to get print books in the hands of people of all ages. For the librarians, it’s a labor of love.
According to Ms. Cribbs, “Many of us are now at home and using technology in ways we never expected. We’re working from home, schooling from home, and attempting to stay connected with our loved ones. The library is here to support the community in all of these endeavors. We’re overcoming obstacles, tackling projects, and providing resources in ways we never imagined.”
For more information about the online writing program for children, please contact Jennifer Cribbs at the Beaver Area Memorial Library (email@example.com). Information on all the programs our local libraries offer can also be found via the county library website (www.beaverlibraries.org).
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