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GIVING THANKS WITH A HOLLYWOOD WRITER

Recap written by Carley Gardnier
From 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM today, the girls at Oak Cliff had the opportunity to engage, learn, and write with Cindy Chupack. For those who do not know, Cindy is a writer out of Hollywood, CA who has friends that are involved with Girls Inc. in Los Angeles. She reached out to GIMD late last week hoping she could work with our girls while she is Texas for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I am so glad we were able to plug her in last minute!

 
A winner of multiple Emmy’s and Golden Globes, Cindy has written for shows we all know – Sex and the City, Modern Family, and Everybody Loves Raymond. Her discussion and writing workshop today covered so much ground. Just a few highlights – to start off the morning, each girl got to pick out her own individual journal. She discussed all the forms writing can take – movies, TV shows, newspaper articles, plays, and books. She discussed how she began her career in writing, she shared her published books with the girls, and discussed the importance of writing down our stories. At the end, she gave the girls 2 prompts to write about – their 3 wishes and what they would do for girls if they were elected president of the United States. Girls came up the front to share their plans and wishes with the group!

Here are just a few answers:


President –

*Give girls projects

*Make sure people are not bullied

*Freedom

*Make every girl feel equal

*equal or higher pay for women

*free toys for everyone

*Talk about how it feels to be president


Wishes –

*Make the world a better place

*Speak any language fluently

*Snap fingers and be with family

*Everyone be treated how they want to be treated

*To be a Saint and serve God

*To go around the world and see other places


Without a doubt, Cindy left a huge impact on the girls today. She concluded her time by reminding the girls that they are loved, respected and heard as well as reminding them that girls can do absolutely ANYTHING they want. There are definitely
strong, smart, and bold girls at GIMD.
****Please read on to hear Cindy’s thoughts on teaching girls to write and giving back for the holidays
ThanksGIVING
by Cindy Chupack
November 16, 2016
As the dust settles on this election, I found myself wanting my Thanksgiving trip to Dallas to include some form of giving back, and I particularly wanted to do something to empower girls — to make sure girls in underserved areas knew that they were valued, and loved, and respected, and that their voices would be heard, and that their stories matter.
As a television writer and producer in Los Angeles, I’m lucky to know some very inspiring female writers and showrunners, and we’ve been discussing ways that we can maintain a vision for our country that is inclusive and respectful of all people regardless of race, gender, national origin, color, ethnicity, religion, or disability.  We can do this with our storytelling, but we can also do it by supporting organizations with a similar vision, and one that came up in our many emails back and forth was Girls Inc.
So when I did a Google search of volunteer opportunities and non-profits in Dallas, Girls Inc. caught my eye.
Girls Inc. mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.  Perfect.
I contacted the volunteer coordinator listed on the Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas website and told her that I’d love to give a writing workshop while I was in Dallas, and she and her amazing staff were able to arrange one for this coming Tuesday.  I will be talking to approximately 32 girls, ages 6-18, about how I became a writer (I grew up in Oklahoma with no connections, my family is in Dallas now), and what it means to be a writer, and how empowering it is — especially for girls and women — to tell our stories.  And then we’ll work on their stories of why they are thankful for their “family” at Girls Inc., focusing on specific experiences, with an eye toward learning to identify and celebrate their unique voices.
I found some wonderful journals for the girls at the “99 Cents Only Stores” here in Los Angeles — 36 different journals, because, as someone who has written in hundreds of journals over my lifetime, I think there is magic and value in picking a journal that feels right for you.  I got different sizes and colors and patterns that are as individual as I know these girls will be.  But I also want to stress that even if you lose a journal, nobody can take away your stories.  You always have them in you.  You can always write them and tell them again.
I hope to inspire the girls in the workshop on Tuesday.  But also, in writing this, I hope to inspire others to give to Girls, Inc. either with money or time (their website is full of ways you can get involved).  And the beauty of stories are that one story, like this one, might inspire other stories in Dallas and around the country about giving back during the holidays as a cure for whatever spiritual hangover or family rift this election might have wrought.
I’m thankful for all of the women in my life who have inspired me and continue to inspire me, and I want to inspire the next generation, because as a teacher at my daughter’s school reminded me: “It’s not just the world we leave our children, it’s the children we leave our world.”  I want to make sure those children, especially the girls, know they are loved and respected and valued now and forever.
- Cindy Chupack
CINDY CHUPACK has won two Emmys and three Golden Globes as a TV writer/producer whose credits include “Divorce,” “Better Things,” “Modern Family,” “Sex and the City,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and the upcoming Showtime darkly comic hour “I’m Dying Up Here” about standup comics in Los Angeles in the 70s.
She is also the author of two comic memoirs: the New York Times bestseller The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays, and The Longest Date: Life as a Wife.  For more about Cindy visit cindychupack.com
For more about Girls Inc. visit girlsinc.org or girlsincdallas.org

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