July Newsletter: Tall Tales and Deep Dives

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear MOI community, 

This summer, MOI staff collaborated with stilt-walking teachers from The Phillips Project to deliver stilting and playwriting workshops at nearby community centers. All summer, I have had the pleasure of watching students discover new abilities in these workshops—writing a play for the first time, acting for the first time, and most amazingly, stilting for the first time. Watching a young person learn how to walk on stilts was a lesson to me in shaking off the fear of failure and embracing the confidence that comes from doing something you never thought you could. 

I take these lessons with me as MOI gets ready to embark on a new chapter for our organization. We’re making a big announcement tomorrow, so stay tuned! Spoiler alert: we haven’t found the lost ocean of Minnesota, but we are getting ready to navigate some exciting new waters. 

More soon, 

Porthole Into Programming

Has your summer been as packed as ours? Young writers at MOI have made zines, painted a Little Free Library, and taken trips to the moon (figuratively, at least)!

Perhaps our most exciting endeavor has been a workshop in partnership with the Phillips Project to incorporate playwriting into the longstanding stilting programs held at Little Earth, Waite House, and Collaborative Village Initiative right in MOI’s neighborhood. In just six weeks, nearly 40 youth learned to stilt and wrote plays based on folktales. On July 26, all three sites came together at Stewart Park to perform their plays, which included:

  • Coyote, Iktome, and the Rock” a Dakota folktale by Little Earth Youth

  • La Llorona,” a Latin American folktale by Waite House Youth

  • Anansi and the Tug of War,” a West African folktale by Collaborative Village Initiative

We’re so proud of our multi-talented students!

Student Spotlight

Last week, students celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with some imaginative space adventures of their own. Check out young author Simone’s “How to get to the moon if you are a pizza.”

We are hosting two more writing workshops this summer. Tell your friends to sail to MOI on August 7th and 21st for a creative and fun afternoon with our crew! All workshops are free and available for youth age 7 - 17.

In the News

Learning to think creatively and write effectively are two ways students can develop their voices. Our crew is proud to see students using their voice to fight for solutions they believe in. Check out this article highlighting the activism of youth participating in Freedom School's summer programming (some of whom also come to MOI) fighting for gun safety legislation.

Call to Action

As our crew prepares to set sail for deep dives in reading and writing this school year, we need your help making our center and our satellite writing center at South High School comfortable and accessible for students. Support MOI and the young authors of the Twin Cities by purchasing books, furniture, and fidget tools on our wishlist!

Donor Spotlight

From the bottom of our hearts and the Lost Ocean of Minnesota, thank you to everyone who donated to MOI this month!

Mohamed Mohamed