Freshman receives AFS award

Eder earns “Vision in Action Award” for her writing workshop

Katie Eder, freshman, received the AFS Project: Change “Vision in Action Award” for a writing workshop she created.

(courtesy Katie Eder) Kids in Eder's writing workshop show off their work.
(courtesy Katie Eder) Kids in Eder’s writing workshop show off their work.

“[To enter the contest] kids from all over the country, high school kids, put in ideas that will make the world a better place,” Eder said.

Eder submitted a video about a project she started called Kids Tales.

Kids Tales is a one to two week course for kids ages seven to 13.

“[Kids Tales] is basically a series of workshops that are taught by kids and are taught to kids about creative writing. Over the course of one week, the kids brainstorm, write, revise and edit a short story and then, at the end, all of the short stories are compiled into a collection that is self-published on Amazon,” Eder said.

Eder has been working on Kids Tales for about a year.

“About this time last year [Eder] told me that she wanted to create a writing program for young students in Milwaukee. I think that the idea grew out of her own love of and her passion for creative writing,” said Priscilla Pardini, Eder’s writing coach.

Eder starts the workshop with an icebreaker game before moving into the writing process. They celebrate the publishing of the book of everyone’s stories on Amazon by having a publishing party.

“[Eder] is so enthusiastic about writing herself that when she stands up in front of a group of other kids they accept her love of writing.” Pardini said.

(Izzie Tassie) Eder earned the AFS "Vision in Action Award" for her creation of Kids Tales, a creative writing class.
(Izzie Tassie) Eder earned the AFS “Vision in Action Award” for her creation of Kids Tales, a creative writing class.

After Kids Tales had been underway for many months, Eder found out about the award through her family’s connection with AFS. This year the Eder family is hosting an AFS student, Khadijia Ouanes, junior.

Eder submitted her now official nonprofit organization for the award. Eder’s main goal when submitting the award was to spread awareness for the program.

“I think that’s definitely one of the biggest things is just getting people’s support, getting people’s awareness… I can now say [Kids Tales] is a real thing,” Eder said.

Eder was one of 20 finalists out of over 500 entries. The winner was determined through votes from the public and a panel of judges.

“The boy who won, won because he had the most votes but then they recognized me because they said that my project fit the AFS mission of making global peace by education,” Eder said.

“I was so pleased that AFS recognized the importance of giving kids a chance to express themselves in their writing,” Pardini said.

With winning the award Eder has the opportunity to expand her program globally. This summer she will be traveling to Columbia, through AFS, to teach her program.

Eder taught Kids Tales to kids at Highland Montessori School and Children’s Outings Association (COA).

“[The kids] were kind of in disbelief at first. Generally, these are kids who would never consider themselves writers; no one’s probably ever put that thought in their mind. So there was disbelief that then gave in at some point to realization that they were actually going to write,” said Connori Russell, COA site coordinator.

“[Kids] come in with totally different writing experiences. The goal of this program is to give these writing courses to kids that don’t normally get the opportunity to do something outside of the classroom,” Eder said. “Kids are so confined to academic writing and they are not often allowed to write whatever they want. My goal is to allow kids to express themselves creatively as well as academically but in the way they choose.”

“[Eder] was the shining star. Her way with the youth, her demeanor, her patience, her ability to joke around with them and have fun, she [could] get them to open up,” Russell said.

Eder’s class has spread outside of Milwaukee too.

“[Kids Tales] has gone from this idea … to something with a national and even international presence,” Pardini said.

by Erin Szablewski and Sabine Peterka

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