Mighty Writers launching app to help students learn virtually

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Thirteen-year-old Asseana Funches is proud to read an article she wrote published in an academic magazine. She's been working with the nonprofit Mighty Writers for years.

"It helps my reading because I used to be at a real low reading level, so it helps me get better because I have someone correcting me," Asseana said.

Mighty Writers has been offering virtual workshops throughout the pandemic, especially helping many students of color. Soon the nonprofit is launching an app in January. It speaks to the concern many children are falling behind with virtual school. Mighty Writers encourages kids to write about how they feel.

"Kids feel OK voicing even their most uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and worries right now, which they certainly have," said education director Rachel Loeper.

A recent study published by McKinsey and Company addressed the challenge of virtual school. It states "students of color could be six to 12 months behind, compared with four to eight months for white students."

"People who are struggling the most also suffer the most when things change," Loeper said.

Mighty Writers helps students throughout Philadelphia, Chester County, Camden, Atlantic City and Trenton.

With the app, more kids can sign up for their programs and participate in their writing contests, which come with cash prizes.

As some school doors remain shut, Mighty Writers says they want to be the go-to. The app will help volunteers work with more children. They say the key is trust.

"The first thing we do is learn to trust one another and trust ourselves and trust our stories and really lift up those voices," Loeper said.

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