Can you really be anything you want to be when you grow up? It’s a phrase commonly uttered to inspire young creative minds to greatness.
And yet it’s a vision that comes true for few. But, for Carly Gelsinger, she always knew what she wanted to be—a writer.
At the young age of 10, with the support of her mother, Gelsinger published her own print magazine. Following a dream 20 years in the making, Gilroyan Gelsinger is helping young kids to do the same thing.
“It was so fun and such a fantastic learning opportunity,” says Gelsinger. “I’ve always thought I’d like to recreate that experience for other kids. This is me bringing that dream to life.”
Gelsinger is offering a new kids’ writing program to young people the South Valley.
But, Gelsinger says this isn’t just another writing class. Students will participate in a nine-week-long program to design and publish their very own magazine.
From finding the story, to successful interviewing and photography, magazine writing and design, Gelsinger says students will not simply be taking a class.
“I see the children as junior journalists, not students,” says Gelsinger. “They will conduct their own interviews, choose their own topics, and be encouraged to chase their own interests.”
Beginning in Jan. 29 South Valley Kids Magazine Writing Program is inviting kids ages 8 and up to participate in its first session of 2018—developing a publication written and designed for kids, by kids.
Through the experience of working together to build a product from beginning to end, Gelsinger says kids will learn essential life skills.
“I think children are capable of greatness if we let them take ownership of their learning.”
Gelsinger, 30, operates Carly Gelsinger Creative Services, teaches memoir writing at Gavilan College and is preparing to publish her first book in October 2018, “Once You Go In You Never Come Out: A memoir.” by She Writes Press.
With a master’s in journalism from Boston University and several years of journalism under her belt, Gelsinger brings the know-how and personal drive to help motivate young students to create their best work.
“My hope is that this program boosts creativity, build confidence and sharpens skills for our local children,” she says.
Gilroy resident Emily Camera has been taking her homeschooled daughter Sydney, 8, to Gelsinger for tutoring help in writing.
“Carly has a special gift for helping kids believe in themselves, which pushed Sydney to the next level.”
Camera says she’s signing her daughter up for the South Valley Kids Magazine Writing Program so she can learn to work on a team and collaborate with others toward a goal.
“Carly is one of those highly creative people who is excited about learning, and it really rubs off on the kids she is around,” says Camera.
Camera is excited Gelsinger is launching this new program to the South Valley.
“I think the class could be great for bringing the Gilroy homeschooling community together,” says Camera. “Maybe it will even give us all ideas and jumpstart other creative projects to get our kids involved with.”
The Monday afternoon classes, held at C-MAP, are open to public so kids can participate as an extracurricular activity. C-MAP (or Community Media Access Partnership), which combines a co-working space and with a digital media studio and offers access to media tools, training and television distribution on local channels.
“Students are welcome to bring whatever tools they have—tablets, cameras, etc.,” says Gelsinger. “But because we are holding the class at C-MAP, we can rent any other tools we may need.”
This course is for the kid who loves taking initiative and being around other creative and passionate peers, she says.
And, as an approved vendor with Ocean Grove Charter School Gelsinger says students may even be able to use some funds for tuition.
“During the nine week workshop, children will report, write, edit, photograph, design and distribute their very own magazine,” Gelsinger says.
Gelsinger encourages her students to embrace their mistakes, believing, she says in “celebrating when we ‘mess up’ instead of beating ourselves up.”
Another Gilroy mom, Sharon Young has two children Kayleah, 11, and Hannah, 9, she’s signing up for the program and says she thinks it is great that children can put their ideas out there and have them published.
“I hope they will gain a little more confidence in their writing while exploring a fun and creative way in expressing what interests them,” Young says.
Whether it be an informative topic or just something fun going on in the community, Young says there is a great possibility for this project to become something big.
“I also see some great potential for teens to get involved and possibly mentor younger children during this process,” she adds. “This is a great project for children of all ages to get involved.”
Gelsinger says she’ll likely bring in a few other experts, such as a photographer and a designer to help put together the glossy, stapled, professional print run publication.
Gelsinger is hoping to get cost of tuition down via corporate sponsorship.
For now, the program tuition is $300 and while Gelsinger is putting up much of the operational costs herself, she’s looking for local businesses to help ease the financial burden.
“I plan to approach the library, coffee shops, dance studios, etc, anywhere that kids go,” Gelsinger says.
“Right now if I pay for the print run myself I can’t charge any less than that,” she says.
Still that hasn’t stopped Gelsinger from pushing forward with the project—confident in the rewards.
“There’s nothing like the pride of making something from start-to-finish, and the type of hands-on learning in this program builds all kinds of life skills, such as problem solving, self-esteem, teamwork, creativity, and communication skills,” Gelsinger says.