The D.C. Creative Writing Workshop, based in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Southeast D.C., has united parents, teachers and students to create a literary renaissance in this often ignored part of the city.

Since 1995, when Charles Hart Junior High became the first school in Washington to have an extra-curricular creative writing program, the Workshop’s writers-in-residence have introduced thousands of students to the joys of self-expression and the written word, opening for them a world of opportunity that exists outside of the historically neglected area in which they live.

While continuing to serve Hart, now a middle school, the Workshop expanded its programs in 2004 to neighboring Ballou High School and Simon Elementary. Students from the three schools have attended readings, plays and other literary events, won dozens of writing awards, and enjoyed a wealth of new experiences not otherwise available to young people in Ward 8.