Story Makers, Chico: Inspiring a Stronger Community, One Story at a Time

By: Emily Lee Hajec

Support. Encourage. Empower. In a nutshell, this is the ultimate goal of the Chico Story Makers: a nonprofit organization aimed at bringing a community writing hub to Downtown Chico.
“We want to bring people together to experience, not only the unique power of writing and story, but also the positive impact of mentorship and community,” says Julie Rinehart, secretary and one of the founding board members of Story Makers.
With structured and thoughtful writing workshops built around various themes, participants (age K-12) can join an eight-week scheduled session that meets once or twice a week. Sessions will improve communication and writing skills, support creativity, and foster relationships with peers and positive role models. Additionally, summer and spring break sessions will be offered, as well as adult writing classes.
“Story Makers is so much more than just writing,” Rinehart says of their organization. Now more than ever, students in our community struggle to experience success, cultivate their creativity, or even find a sense of community and belonging. The truth is this: Not every kid has someone in their corner. Even for kids who do have someone in their corner and have a strong support system at home, those children may want to embrace their love of writing further.
Part of what makes Story Makers such a versatile support piece for kids in the community is that the workshops are designed around various themes and with different outcomes for each session. The curriculum is designed for students who struggle with writing and students who want to embrace their love of creative writing. And the team behind Story Makers recognizes this. Their founding board is a group of five working parents who want to see kids in our community gain confidence and feel inspired while getting the support, guidance, and encouragement from both a mentor and their peers. The design of a small group setting will allow workshop leaders and writing coaches to act as positive role models and mentors, fostering friendships, and building relationships.
“Right now, our biggest obstacle is securing funds to open our doors at a physical location where we can host our workshops and create a safe and inspiring space for the participants,” says Rinehart of their current needs in moving the project forward. As an incubator fund beneath the North Valley Community Foundation (NVCF), monetary contributions to the Story Makers organization are managed by the NVCF and are 100% tax-deductible for the donor.
To get involved, find out more, and/or make a donation, please visit to contact their team today.
5 Facts About Writing & Mentorship:
Expressive writing has been linked to improving mood and well-being and reducing stress levels for those who regularly engage.
75% of at-risk young adults who had a mentor aspire to enroll in and graduate from college.
Students who are taught competent writing skills at an early age often reach greater levels of academic success as a result. These benefits pour over into professional skills on a very fundamental level.
Adding 15 minutes of writing each day can make a substantial difference in writing outcomes and contribute to improved reading skills.
Perhaps more than any other subject, writing demands a supportive environment in which students want to become better writers because they love the opportunity to express themselves and to interact in writing with valued peers and teachers.

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