Talk Story, Write Story

As part of her RJI Fellowship, Tad Bartimus, an award-winning journalist and founder of Talk Story, Write Story, successfully launched her one-on-one writing mentorship project in Missouri. The program, which started in Hana, Hawaii, in 1998, has led to the mentoring of hundreds of financially disadvantaged high school students and has helped dozens of those students in Alaska and Hawaii — and now Missouri — write winning college scholarship essays.

During the 2015-2016 school year, 10 seniors from David H. Hickman High School in Columbia were paired with volunteer mentors, including local journalists and journalism educators, who coached the students as they wrote college entrance and scholarship essays. The students cumulatively earned more than $700,000 in scholarship awards and acceptances from 25 institutions of higher education.

Bartimus and her husband, Dean Wariner, used the Columbia project to create a Talk Story, Write Story template so more communities can help their local youth.

For more information about sponsoring Talk Story, Write Story in your community, please contact Melody Bezenek at the Missouri Press Foundation through email at or by calling 573-449-4167.