National Writing Project

From Passion to Purpose: 10 Teacher-Led Awards Distributed via the 2019 LRNG Innovators Challenge

Teacher-led innovation that designs for youth impact and showcases powerful learning.

For Immediate Release


Berkeley, CA, May 6, 2019 — This year's LRNG Innovators Challenge invited educators to design ways that youth can share their work with their communities, build real-world connections, and have impact on the issues that matter most to them. With support from John Legend's The Show Me Campaign and the National Writing Project (NWP), 10 grantees have been selected based on their proposed programs, curricula, or projects that connect youth interests to larger networks, mentors, and/or forums where they can share their work and amplify their message.

Regarding the challenge, John Legend said, "We believe every young person deserves access to a quality education. We know that teachers have the unique power to change students' lives, and we're excited to continue supporting educators who are designing innovative ways to inspire young people."

The LRNG Innovators Challenge supports teams of educators in designing, testing, and sharing solutions that build the future of creative and connected learning today. During the next 15 months, LRNG Innovators grantees will develop, pilot, and share promising ways to support, showcase, and celebrate the powerful work that youth create when they have opportunities to explore interests and ideas that are valuable to them and their communities. As part of the design process, the 10 educators will benefit from co-founder NWP's deep experience supporting teacher-leadership through local and national networks.

"Across the country there are innovative teachers and engaged young people who are creating a new vision of what education can be, now and into the future. Through LRNG Innovators, we invest in those teachers and youth so that, ultimately, we all can learn from them," said Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Executive Director of the National Writing Project.

To learn more about LRNG Innovators and the funded projects, visit

A full list of grantees is provided below.

Year 4 LRNG Innovators Award Recipients

  • Addressing Gun Violence: Creating Visionaries, Storytellers, Community Activists | Oakland, CA
  • The 290 Project: Lives Along the Exits | Chicago, IL
  • Young Writers Workshop: Advocacy & Action | Baltimore, MD
  • Performance & Spoken Word Poetry as Artistic Expression, Political Action, Social Justice, and Environment Advocacy | Petoskey, MI
  • The Leatherstocking Writing Project's Video Game Designer Institute | Oneonta, NY
  • Producing Justice: Urban Youth Changing Their Community | Rochester, NY
  • The City is Our Campus: Amplifying Youth Voice, Expanding Youth Space | Cleveland, OH
  • Writing the Past, Changing the Future: A Century of Learning the 1921 Race Massacre | Tulsa, OK
  • Revisiting History through Literature, Landscapes, and Local Legends | Portland, OR
  • Seize Your Future: Career Passion Projects | Lake Stevens, WA

Through its mission, the National Writing Project (NWP) focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation's educators on sustained efforts to help youth become successful writers and learners. NWP supports a network of local Writing Project sites, located on nearly 200 university and college campuses, to provide high-quality professional development in schools, universities, libraries, museums, and after-school programs. Through its many successful programs and partnerships, the organization reaches 1.4 million Pre-K through college-age students in over 3,000 school districts annually. NWP envisions a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital, interconnected world.

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