We’ve been offering writing programs for teens since 2000. In 2016 we added a summer camp for middle-schoolers and in 2024 we added writing programs in our Children’s Garden for ages 3-12. Find out more details for each age group below.

Check out these samples of recent writing from our students.

High Schoolers

Teen Writing Workshops

The Laura (Riding) Jackson Teen Writing Workshops, partially funded through a grant from Quail Valley Charities, are free, interactive writing workshops offered throughout the school year and are open to teens ages 13-19. Topics change from year to year, but include: Editing, Comics, Shakespeare, YA Novel Writing, and Screenwriting. Each of these dynamic workshops, taught by either university faculty or published writers, gives students opportunities to not only explore but also obtain valuable feedback on their creative writing.

Our highly successful college essay writing workshops have helped hundreds of students learn how to craft impressive college entrance essays that are sure to gain the attention of admission officers. Through the Teen Writing Workshops, local students have won college scholarships and earned top honors in state and national contests, including the Guideposts Young Writers ContestThe Concord Review, and the Parade Magazine and Zora Neale Hurston poetry contests.

Teen Fellow Award

The Laura (Riding) Jackson Teen Writing Fellowship is a prestigious award that recognizes students who demonstrate dedication and commitment to the development of their literary skills and talents.

Online Teen Writing Workshops

During the COVID pandemic, we developed six online courses that are still available to students!

Teens Listen

LRJF is helping teens learn the process of interviewing members of the community and documenting their stories. Teens Listen is a project that engages students in our community in an experience that will develop skills of interviewing and listening by recording the significant views adults have about living in this community.

Middle Schoolers

Write in the Middle

Write in the Middle is an annual middle school summer camp. Every participant becomes a published writer! Registration is open now for Summer 2024.

Preschoolers and Elementary

Kids Write Outside

Combining the need to get younger children out from behind screens and into the out-of-doors, in 2024 we added new programs for kids in age groups 2-5 years old; 6-8 years old; and 9-12 years old. Launching in February 2024, these outdoor programs will take place in our Children’s Garden and all will include writing (or writing readiness, in the youngest group).

Recent Writings from our Students

“The Oasis”

by Marcos Viloria

The Oasis

Dry patches of grass

I once deemed as hideous

suddenly bloom with color.

The bright yellow

of a recently sprouted flower

envelops my skin with the warmth of the sun.

I run my fingers through its petals

searching for the source of this sensation,

only to discover that I was floating on a garden.

Plants hanging,

flowers blooming,

tendrils reaching,

warmth cooling,

as I walk through the path of nature.

The vines seem to notice my presence,

since they extend their arms toward me,

lifting me high to their vineyard sanctuary.

As soon as they welcome me to their home,

a river of wine sweeps me from my feet.

The burgundy rapids leave me gasping for breath, 

when suddenly,

a soft, dry, mossy safety net

halts my turmoil

Opening my eyes, 

I finally see an oasis of peace.

Nature has finally guided me to peace.


by Rachel Estillore

from the people we loved

to the people we knew

from the birds in the sky

to the beach waves blue

there’s nothing on earth

land sky or sea

that doesn’t cherish

both you and me