Writing, Storytelling, & Art for Community

About the Summer 2021 Issue of Loudoun County Magazine

Loudoun Community Press is pleased to announce the release of Loudoun County Magazine Summer 2021. This issue was the product of a partnership project “Writing, Storytelling and Art for Community.” A full press release follows.

Loudoun Community Press launched a new program in 2020 partnering with Loudoun County Public Schools, the Loudoun Literacy Council, and the Loudoun County Public Library, “Writing, Storytelling and Art for Community.” Loudoun students, library patrons, residents, and multilingual learners worked together to produce Loudoun County Magazine,  the print and digital magazine that you are reading that will be delivered across Loudoun County this summer. Loudoun Community Press selected student editors through an application process in 2020 with the intention of developing diverse and inclusive voices in local media. Loudoun Community Press is pleased to announce that this year’s Student Editors are Ebaadah Martínez-Jaka-, a homeschooler from Hamilton, Emiya Diaz from Potomac Falls High School in Sterling, and Layne Sheplee from Independence High School in Ashburn. 

Loudoun Community Press’s Director, Jessica Monte, says of this project, “We are dedicated to providing space for Loudoun’s vibrant and diverse community to come together through text and visual arts as well as at live storytelling events. This year’s program with Loudoun County Public Schools, the Loudoun County Public Library, and the Loudoun Literacy Council allowed us to bring together the region’s existing educational, media, and literacy institutions and organizations for meaningful dialogue opportunities.”

Additionally, Loudoun Community Press provided writing instruction and tutoring for students and residents interested in improving their journalism, social media, and storytelling skills. This new program creates opportunities for Loudoun students aspiring to write or work in journalism, communications, and the arts, including students and residents from historically underrepresented communities of color and culture, to enter writing spaces and gain industry experience. Ultimately, this program enables diverse and inclusive voices to depict and reflect their experiences, rather than having their experiences interpreted and presented by others. 

“The project between Loudoun County Magazine and Loudoun County Public Schools epitomizes the LCPS mission for students to make meaningful contributions to the world,” says Dr. Michelle Picard, Supervisor of Secondary English and Reading for Loudoun County Public Schools. “The project allows students to read, write and speak with authentic audiences and to share diverse experiences.”

Nikki Daruwala, Executive Director of the Loudoun Literacy Council, stated, “We are pleased to partner with Loudoun County Magazine to amplify the voices of our students, empowering them through storytelling and shared experiences. The project aligns with our goals of building identity, advancing agency, cultivating belonging, and fostering community through literacy.”

Susan VanEpps, the Division Manager for Programming and Community Engagement for Loudoun County Public Library said: “Loudoun County Public Library was happy to invite the winners of our annual adult writing contest, Write On, to submit their stories for this brand new community project.”

The “Writing, Storytelling and Art for Community” project is also a career development initiative. The program offers  pre-professional experiences as a pathway to meaningful careers in writing, journalism and the arts and provides mentoring and guidance, networking opportunities, and access to local leaders, business owners, and professionals from the Loudoun community. It promotes dialogue about diverse communities and encourages examination of underlying social and historical issues.

About Loudoun Community Press

Loudoun Community Press offers access to writing, journalism, and art education with numerous opportunities for internships, cooperative learning and other hands-on learning experiences for students and residents living and working in Loudoun County. Loudoun Community Press oversees Loudoun County Magazine and is dedicated to building community with the publication of print and digital media.

For more information, visit http://www.loudouncommunitypress.org

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