Writers Club

Writers’ club promotes literacy with book drive

By Adam Gentile
Features Editor

The CCM writers club ran its first book drive Tuesday, Oct. 9 at the Student Center in an effort to encourage literacy for underprivileged children.

In the United States childhood illiteracy in 4th grade is around 35 percent; however, for lower income families the illiteracy rate is at 82 percent according to the Reading Partners, an organization dedicated to stopping childhood illiteracy. Illiteracy also follows the child later on in life as the U.S Department of Education reported that 60 percent of inmates are illiterate and 85 percent of juvenile delinquents are illiterate.

Marcos Mirlas, president of the Writers Club, organized the event and was in the student center running the book drive.

“The goal was to get books appropriate for children for ages 3-17, and we were trying to give them to children in need,” Mirlas said.

The writers’ club did not work with any established charity or children’s organization, however, Mirlas plans on donating them to a social service office inside his town that will ensure that they go to children in need.

This was the first charity event that Mirlas organized and did not know what to expect from the outcome.

“I overestimated and I had 15 boxes to hold the books, but I only ended up needing five boxes which is still a lot of books, so it’s a good bounty either way,” Mirlas said.

Assuming the average dimensions of a packing box and that of children’s books the writers club most likely collected more than 200 books on their Oct. 9 book drive.

Along with organizing book drives the writers club also has an end of semester event known as the writers’ block.

“It’s like a poetry, but it doesn’t have to be poetry, like the club anything that is your own written word that you present to everybody,” Mirlas said. “There are judges and prizes and it’s a lot of fun for everybody.”

At the moment the club is not going to put on another book drive this semester, but organizations such as  International Literacy Association, Reach Out and Read, Literacy for Incarcerated Teens,. all make it their mission to end illiteracy.

The writers’ club focuses on presentation and peer review, that encourages people to show up with any written work whether its a poem, song, short story, or any other form of literature. The meetings take place once a week between 12:30-1:45 on Thursdays.

Writers’ Club gives new voice to budding artists

By Gina N. Fico
Contributor

This semester, County College of Morris introduced the Writers’ Club, a new student organization to help students expand their skills in writing.

The club is designed for students who either want to succeed in their classes or utilize their creative writing skills, according to founder and president Michelle Mardis. The club meets at 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays in Cohen Hall 265. Three members of the club introduced the student body to the club at the Welcome Back Bash Thursday, Sept. 21.

Mardis, a liberal arts major at CCM, said she was motivated to start this club so CCM students’ “voices can be heard.” She said that this club will also benefit students using writing as a “stress reliever” and that it will present guest speakers that can help students learn how to get their work published.

Mardis said her hope for this club is that it will get more people talking about writing and will help students understand how much writing can extend one’s knowledge and open up students’ minds to “thinking outside the box.” The club will present guest speakers that can help students learn how to get their work published.

Writing is a key skill for students as taking English Composition classes is required to obtain a degree in most majors at CCM. However, some students feel uncomfortable with expressing their thoughts. Gabby Cuevas, a liberal arts major at CCM, said that is another aspect the Writers’ Club can assist students with.

“If you are afraid to tell how you feel in public, you can definitely write down how you are feeling,” Cuevas said.

She said that the club will also focus on helping students construct their thoughts better for essays if that is something they struggle with.

Louis Perez, a music recording major at CCM, said he looks forward to the variety of work this club will present.

“Just more expanding on music related works, it could just be short stories, songs, any sort of writing,” said Perez.

Perez said he hopes this club will make his own “creative juices flow” and he wants the club to push students to speaking their minds more than they may be comfortable with.

Mardis said that the club will host an event called “The Writers’ Block,” which will give students a chance to share their story in a forum similar to an open mic, and students will be free to share their writing and singing their songs. Mardis said there are many phenomenal writers whose voices are not heard, and this event and others like it can help these students more confidently share their work.

“I think it will really show that community college students are just as good as a four year school,” Mardis said. “And it’s really important to me that everyone has a chance to have their voice heard. That’s the main thing I’ve been saying all day. Make sure your voice is heard.”