"I felt I let go what was inside me" – August Newsletter 2017

Letter from the Executive Director 

“I felt I let go what was inside me.”

When I need to remind myself why the work we do here at MOI is so powerful, I come back to this phrase written on the bottom of a student survey I gave out years ago. I was teaching creative writing and storytelling to 7th grade students, and at the end of the month-long workshops, we asked students to reflect on the process and their experience. This often felt like pulling teeth, and many times, the surveys would come back full of “IDK”s.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of working with today’s youth, this is an acronym for “I don’t know.” IDK is the bane of many educators’ existence.

But amidst a sea of surveys littered with IDKs, there was one student, Jr., who perfectly articulated why writing is so important. When asked what he got out of the experience of writing his story, he said, “I felt I let go what was inside me.”

Almost once a year, I dig in a box and pull out Jr.’s survey. I do this because I deeply believe all of us have a story inside of us of which we are ready to let go. Maybe it is a story of trauma or heartbreak. Maybe it is a story of hope and resistance. Maybe it is a story like the one a field trip group wrote with us last week, about a land in which the air feels like Hot Cheetos puffs and snakes look like giant pink erasers.

Look around your neighborhood.

What story is inside the kid you pass on the street? Stand in line next to in the store? Or even help with their homework at MOI?

Could YOU be the one who helps bring that story out?


But actually, I do.

Yes, you could. Yes, you can. We are looking to build and expand our programming for the upcoming school year and we need your help. We need caring, creative adults to help kids write letters to the president, restaurant reviews, even the next great American novel. Check out our volunteer page for more information about our fall Open Houses and volunteer trainings.

Join us,

Porthole into Programming!


The ReVoice Podcast Camp is wrapping up! In the last two weeks, our students saw the completion of their second in-house podcast, as well as field trips to our community partners KFAI Fresh Air Radio and MPR Studios. In their final week, students will interview community members about their occupations, hobbies, and favorite colors! So don’t pull your earbuds out yet. The final ReVoice episode will be available on our website for your enjoyment!

Generous support from both the Shavlik Family Foundation and Sheltering Arms Foundation have helped us bring podcast storytelling to our students this summer.

Join Us! 

In the News


Article: "Minnesota test results show math down a bit, reading flat"
MOI is committed to increasing literacy in the Twin Cities.

Attend our Open House on September 13 and deep dive into how you can get involved with our five creative writing and tutoring programs throughout the school year. Featuring food, games, and good company!

Introducing our new AmeriCorps VISTAs! 

Welcome to the crew, Danielle and Natalie. Look for these friendly faces as we voyage into the upcoming school year.


Danielle Jackson, the new Community Outreach Coordinator, is fromPennsylvania but went to college in Michigan. While at the University of Michigan, she studied English and Social Theory & Practice, and edited for The Michigan Daily. She's used to living right by Lake Erie, so she's glad to be in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. In her free time, she likes yoga, writing, and doing nail art. You can drop her a (fishing) line at danielle@moi-msp.org.


Natalie Bourman-Karns, the new Tutor Training and Evaluation Coordinator, grew up just outside of the Twin Cities before heading off to Pennsylvania to study at Lehigh University.  While completing her B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology at Lehigh, she worked with an after-school tutoring program that served the local students with all of their homework needs. She can be reached at natalie@moi-msp.org.


Student Spotlight

ReVoice Podcast, Episode 2: Family – An Inside Look

from MOI's field trip to KFAI
by Rihanna, Tariq, Warda, Izzy, and Jasper

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