In 2012, our founder, Melissa, started editing a collection of letters of advice written by 50 women from over 20 countries. This anthology, called Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self, has formed the backbone of Advice Project Media's curriculum. Each letter partners a problem with a solution, exploring topics such as gender-based violence, conservation of natural resources, war and genocide, indigenous rights, animal rights, body image, LGTBQ rights, suicide and self-harm, self love, and youth empowerment. Some of our authors are famous; others aren't. No matter -- all of their stories are important. Our students read excerpts from the anthology and are then encouraged to write their own letters of advice that propose solutions to the problems within their communities. These letters form the foundation to our students eventually writing strong opinion editorials.
In addition, Advice Project Media has developed writing exercises, discussion outlines, and four country-specific workbooks that focus not only on writing, story development, and journalism, but include materials to partner with each of the topics explored in Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self, and also supplemented our materials with peer-reviewed articles and journalistic pieces so that our students can learn to look at many sides of a single issue. We focus on topics that our students want to focus on -- we don't shove anything down their throats without first being invited to the table. This means that in Cameroon you will find readings on rape, child brides, breast ironing, the role of young men in changing gender conversations, and palm oil plantations, while in Guadeloupe you will find readings about the legacy of the slave trade and mangrove and coral reef conservation. In the USA, some of our curriculum has focused on segregation in the educational system, LGTBQ rights, and racism.
Our educational materials not only teach students how to write, they teach them how to think. They encourage young people to partner problems with solutions. We believe that this is the foundation not only of good writing, but of any person who wants to become a change-maker.
We've published excerpts from Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self in our online magazine, and will happily provide examples of our writing exercises or other materials upon request. Our curriculum is modified for each of the programs we lead, taking into account taboos, culturally supported practices, and the needs of individual communities. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss Advice Project Media partnering with your organization or community to develop effective curriculum or programs. In the meantime, read more about the women who authored our anthology, below, and read some exerpts from the book.