Subscribe to our RSS Feed

JCSU Alumna hosts virtual writing workshops to help high school classmates reconnect during pandemic

Taiia Smart Young ‘95
Taiia Smart Young ‘95
Photo credit: Shateek Young

Charlotte, N.C. / May 4, 2020 – Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the world have found new ways to help each other. Two Johnson C. Smith University alumni are using their connection to pay it forward. 

“Dr. Diron T. Ford ’93, assistant vice principal at Woodside High School, in Newport News, Virginia, asked if I’d be interested in creating a writing workshop for his students who were feeling disconnected from their peers and bored at home due to the pandemic,” said Taiia Smart Young ‘95.

In an effort to help Ford’s students, Young created a special, online workshop called Write Now: Stories from the Quarantine.

“The goal was to design a safe space where students could be creative and honest about life in their respective quarantines,” she explained.

Young and students met on Zoom April 22, 2020 where she presented them with a variety of entertaining topics to write about related to the pandemic.

“One of the prompts asked the students to imagine it was 2035 and they had to describe—to their future kid—what it was like surviving the pandemic of 2020,” she elaborated.

As mentioned in one of her newsletters about the power of journaling, Young believes her workshop can be a therapeutic outlet for the students, who may be having a hard time transitioning to their new normal of learning. 

“So often, reading and writing is not seen as the fun thing to do. It’s not an Instagram post, Snapchat feed, or a TikTok video, so that makes my job of engaging students much more difficult,” she said.

Nevertheless, Young has not allowed challenges to deter her from assisting students “My goal is to get students to tell the best story ever, no matter if they are writing a journal entry or crafting an essay to impress an admissions officer at JCSU.”

In addition to her workshop for students, Young has also created workshops aimed at helping people find ways to love themselves, titled Love you, Mean it.

“As an author, editor and self-publishing consultant, I didn’t see this as being a part of my career, but has become one of my favorite parts of my entrepreneurial journey,” she said.

If you’d like to participate in Young’s Love you, Mean it virtual workshop, send an email to Taiia@TaiiaSmartYoung and put “I love JCSU” in the subject line.

Return to Latest News