HONOUR BOUND: “Writer’s Exchange” Aims To Expand To Help More Eastside Children


Sarah Maitland and Jennifer MacLeod run The Writers Exchange, an eastside program that gives offers inner city kids a place where they can learn to love writing. The Writers’ Exchange makes literacy exciting and accessible for kids through free mentoring and creative writing projects. In other words, it’s flippin’ awesome.

Sarah spent four years in publishing before taking the leap to create the Writers’ Exchange in 2011. Jennifer, who worked previously in magazine publishing, jumped on board after a series of strange and wonderful events connected her to Sarah. The pair have not looked back since.

To date, WE programs have been run out of a small classroom at Queen Alexandra School and in various classrooms across East Vancouver. This month, the Writers’ Exchange scored keys to a new space where they will be able to offer increased programming.

Their vision is to make sure that every child has the opportunity to build literacy skills necessary to access a world where anything is possible. That’s a pretty great vision and we think Vancouver will be a better place for it.

The new Writers’ Exchange space will provide free after-school programming, evening and weekend workshops for kids and youth ages 6 to 18, and family literacy programs. Right now, the space looks a little on the rough side, but Sarah and Jennifer have big plans to transform the space. Interior designer Carla Boland has volunteered her time to develop renderings of what the new Writers’ Exchange space could look like once it’s completed (see centre images above), but they need a little help to get there.

Here is the part where you get to help realize this fantastic vision. The Writers’ Exchange is in need the following new or gently used items:

Money (donate online here)
Gift cards for Ikea, Home Depot, Canadian Tire and other building centres
Floating laminate flooring
Large tables (round and rectangular) and chairs
High cafe-style table and stools
Bookshelves and storage units
Boardgames, books, typewriters
Sets of plates, cups and cutlery, and serving dishes
Mac computers (less than 3 years old)

If you can donate any of these items, or if you’d like to donate your time to help out with fun jobs like painting, installing flooring, and moving and assembling furniture, please contact Jennifer at jmacleod@vancouverWE.com or 604-307-0654.

Keep in mind that this space wants to raise this confidence of kids. It needs to be a great space, not a dumping ground for the junk you couldn’t unload at your last garage sale. When these kids walk into this building, they should feel like heroes entering a cathedral.

The Writers’ Exchange | 881 East Hastings | 778.888.5498 | DETAILS

Honour Bound details the many cool things that we feel honour bound to check out because they either represent Vancouver exceptionally well or are inherently super awesome in one way or another.

There are 2 comments

  1. Shit, these gurls are totally doing the raddest stuff in the local educating little kids scene. big props to them.

    Getting kids to learn writing and reading by doing fun projects!

    I am so jealous, I wish I had this program at a younger age.