We don't have an outpost of author Dave Egger's 826 program in Denver, where kids can learn to dream like a writer and write like a writer and even get published like a writer. What we do have, however, is a group of people inspired by Egger's project to do something similar. They call themselves the Metro Denver Promotion of Letters, a gangly name to be sure, but the acronym (MDPL) isn't so bad and the vision is even better.
They started with donations from friends and family and non-profit status. Today they have a volunteer board of four, including Director Amanda Lueck Grell, Vice-Director Micah Champagne, Secretary Laura Levi and Tresurer J. Kellermeyer (the husband of Westword's very own Candy Girl). They also have a team of volunteers and a handful of successful writing camps under their belts.
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The most recent batch concluded last week, when a group of 8 to 10-year-olds played writing games, scavenging for adjectives and creating collages on which to base their writing. Everyone turned out a final draft at the end of the week, and MDPL will compile them to be produced professionally. The resulting book will be available on Amazon.
"We're trying to promote writing as a means of expression," Champagne says. The organization will also tutor students in area schools. They've already joined forces with re-emerging Manuel High School in the Whittier neighborhood, where MDPL assists with the student-produced Boom magazine there.
The goal is to someday open a location of their own, where students could drop by for writing help. Like 826, the idea is to run a store -- MDPL's would have the theme Steampunk, which is a combination of the the Wild West and Victorian England with a sci-fi vision of the future. At this point, MDPL is awaiting grants or donations of money or space to find a permanent home.