2016 Tell Your Story Campaign: Spotlight on Andrea Bozzo

The Tell Your Story Campaign is back!


Every June, members of the NYWC community write stories about their experiences with NYWC as a way to raise awareness and revenue for our programs. Each week throughout the next month we’ll be featuring one of these stories on our website. This week’s installment comes from Andrea Bozzo, who leads a workshop for retired adults at the 14th St Y in Manhattan.

Be sure to follow and support NYWC’s 2016 Tell Your Story Campaign here!

I was first introduced to NY Writers Coalition about eight years ago when I attended the annual youth reading at the Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival.  I was captivated by the children’s great enthusiasm and excellent writing as they read their own work aloud.   I still remember the group of four siblings who read with familial pride as well as distinctly different voices.  This reading motivated me to search NYWC’s website to learn more about the organization and to see if there were opportunities for volunteer work.  However, it wasn’t until a year ago that I actually joined NYWC, and was trained as a volunteer workshop leader.

This past year’s experiences as a workshop leader have surpassed any expectations that I could have had for gratifying volunteer work.  I never thought that I would be exposed to such a range of human situations and emotions simply by volunteering with NYWC. I began the year by substituting for other workshop leaders at several workshops that serve various underserved populations.  I worked with the LGBT community, with formerly incarcerated women who were seeking help for substance abuse problems, and with the visually impaired.  I also led a workshop for the general public at the Brooklyn Public Library several times before I was assigned to a long-term workshop for seniors that meets at the 14th St Y in Manhattan.

The stories that I have heard have enriched my understanding of life by being so outside of my own experience.  These stories have included a detailed description of losing one’s sight over an extended period of time, the horrors of being held at Riker’s Island, a young Jewish girl’s escape from Vienna on the eve of World War II, and a contemporary street dialogue so reminiscent of “Waiting for Godot” as to be uncanny.

By following NYWC’s guidelines, I have been able to create a supportive and non-judgmental environment in each workshop that has resulted in amazing writing by these different workshop participants.  I have learned so much by listening carefully to the stories of every one of the various writers.  My work in these workshops has led me to believe, as NYWC’s mission states: “in the value of the uniqueness of every individual’s voice.”

Please join me in making a donation to NYWC to help ensure that we can continue with this important work.

Click here to donate to Andrea’s Firstgiving page!