Your Words Matter to Us is a student-led organization that helps writers in their professional as well as their personal growth by providing opportunities for writing, interviewing, and publishing. YWMTU gives writers of all skill levels a platform to create writing through writing events, express themselves through performing events, and get their deserved recognition through publishing events. The organization has been featured in Times Canada, the Spotlight Magazine, and Closelook Productions,

YWTMU was founded in early 2019 by entrepreneur, writer, and tv show host Sanjana Karthik. Along with founding this organization, Karthik has co-founded a mental health app known as myEsprit and created many campaigns through the BC Youth Council.

Members of the Your Words Matter To Us team. (photo by Kaashvi Mittal)

In YWMTU, there are three departments: Event Creation, Outreach, and Marketing. Each department has several team members. The Event Creation department’s members include Unaiza Afsal, Diya Prabhu, Rashi Baranwal, and Palak Jalan. The Marketing department’s members include director Astha Hardat and Samira Wali. Finally, the Outreach department’s members include director Jacky Wang, Samah, and Sayeed Parvez.

Pooja Sree M K is the Head of Operations.

Writers’ Bloc

The biggest challenge the organization faced was the COVID-19 pandemic. After the pandemic hit, YWMTU had to adapt quickly by switching its events online. Technical difficulties and a difference in time zones resulted in a drop in attendance to many of their events. Their team struggled internally to meet attendance targets and deadlines.

However, YWMTU worked to fix these issues immediately. They utilized polls to connect with customers and presented outreach and editing through social media. By pushing for better communication skills and using positive reinforcement, they were able to not only able to strengthen their team but also boost the number of people attending each of their events.

(Graphic provided by Kaashvi Mittal)

The Big Question

Through their events, they have supported many organizations, such as South Surrey Recreation Center, Crescent Choir, and Simple Generosity. They have also collaborated with several corporations including Team Roobaroo, Thai Youth Express, and Loop Media to bring forward these engaging events.

For instance, in late 2020, YWMTU partnered with Team Roobaroo to host a Fundraising Open Mic, allowing writers to share their work with others. Writers would enter this event by donating 2 Canadian dollars, or 50 rupees, to the charity Letters to Strangers in India.  Recently, YWMTU organized The Big Question, an impromptu debate event for anyone ages 13 to 20 years old. Before the debate event, they also hosted “Let’s Talk,” which included talks about “Networking for Building Opportunities,” “Gen Z: The Next Leaders,” and “The Most Stupendous World of Media.” 

Words Touch Souls

Very soon, they will be hosting their first summer program from the middle of June to August called “Wordathon.” They will be arranging weekly games, including quizzes and spelling bees. In August, they will be re-launching their magazine “Words Touch Souls,” which will cover interviews with various authors, writing pieces, games, and more! 

The organization has also achieved great things. They were able to interview Amrut Deshmukh, The Booklet Guy. He is a leading icon in India who has a mission to “Make India Read.” They have also interviewed two-time Newbery Honor Award Winner Christina Soontornvat. She won these two awards in the same year, earning a world record as a result. In an event called “Tell Me A Story,” YWMTU was able to have the presence of Palash Krishna Mehrotra, a columnist; Tanmay Dubey, a best-selling author and book writing coach; and Vikram Sirdhar, a performance storyteller and theater practitioner. In the event, they discussed stereotypes and their experiences in the writing community. 

The organization aspires to gather more support through grants, sponsorships, partnerships, and more. They want to build on their ideas for a magazine and podcast. Most importantly, they hope to expand this organization further to allow for a better and more widespread impact on writers around the world. 

Kaashvi Mittal is a rising sophomore at Saint Francis High School. Her interests include computer science, AI, and writing!