A Shorewood High School student is getting national attention for creating an organization made up of kids helping other kids, and its impact goes far beyond Milwaukee.
Katie Eder is the founder of the non-profit, Kids Tales, that now has a presence in nine other states, and six other countries.
Eder has always loved putting her thoughts to paper. When her older sister became a math tutor, Eder tried to find opportunities to help kids learn creative writing. She realized outside of book reports and assigned papers, most kids don't get to experience the creative outlet of writing stories, and writing down their thoughts and emotions.
"I looked around for a place that I could teach writing as a teenager, but I couldn't find anything," Eder said.
So she took matters into her own hands and started a creative writing workshop at a community center for underprivileged kids in Milwaukee. She loved it so much and it got such a positive response, that she recruited other teenage teachers, and expanded the program locally. Then, to other cities around the country and world.
"We get turned away a lot because every teacher is a teenager, and people doubt us," Eder said. "My whole organization is made up solely of teenagers. It just makes me want to work even harder to prove them wrong. Kids can do things. Kids have the power to make a difference."
The teens lead sessions on creative writing at places most in need of attention.
"We work with 9-year-old refugees from Afghanistan and 15-year-old boys in juvenile detention centers," Eder said. "No one has ever told them that their story matters, and their experiences matter. "
Then, they publish the stories the kids wrote, and feature the authors.
"To see kids that go through a lot of difficult circumstances that kids should never go through," Eder said. "To see how resilient they are is inspiring. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a voice that matters, but unfortunately, there aren't a lot of opportunities for kids to express that voice."
"We are here to help them express themselves, hear their stories, and share them," Eder said. "We want to hear you."
Eder has won awards and grants to help grow the organization. Kids Tales is always looking for more teenage teachers and more places to teach writing workshops. If you'd like to get in touch, or learn more just visit kidstales.org.
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