MaryEllen joined the Board in the Spring of 2022 and has quickly become a fierce advocate for the organization as we continue to grow and reach more communities. Her personal connection to writing extends from the tragic loss of her husband, John, on 9/11. In her own words, MaryEllen shares why she is passionate about writing.
21 years ago, my husband John was killed on 9/11. My three children were 6, 4 and 2 and grew up in the shadow of violence, destruction and loss – reminders of which were almost incessantly present throughout their childhood. For the last 20 years, I’ve worked with organizations that supported children struggling to recover from trauma. And while my move to Write on Sports seems inconsistent with that mission; I can assure you it is not.
Write on Sports is not about sports, it is an organization that teaches youth from underserved communities to write. Children that suffer from trauma and loss often find it difficult to speak about their experiences as their pain is so personal, sharing it out loud is simply not an option. Their world becomes a silent prison of sadness, anxiety and despair. Writing becomes an extraordinary opportunity to convey thoughts and feelings without having to converse and face people with emotions they may not understand. Write on Sports uses sports as the creative foundation to inspire kids to write. Yet more importantly, WoS teaches students that writing is not just a tool to do well in school, it is a valuable skill to use to express who you are and discuss what matters to you. We do not know the background of all the students who participate in our programs, but I am sure writing is the key to the lock that traps their feelings for many of them.
It is still difficult for me to say the words, “my husband was killed on 9/11.” You will not find my children racing to speak about their loss. But we will write about it. As a family, we have all written about hope and resilience and peace. We have written about John. We have shared our words in a manner that will reach far more people than would ever hear our voices.
Write on Sports is all about writing. For the myriad of reasons writing will benefit students in their lifetime, learning a new outlet for expression is perhaps most important. I am honored to be a new board member for Write on Sports. I am eager to assist in the growth of this organization so that more students each year can learn how powerful it is to be able to Write On!!