As part of a commitment to diverse books, Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier and a network of alumni who received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults are launching the VCFA Young Writers Network, to encourage underserved kids from ages six to 18 to write. VCFA alums will work with existing writing programs like 826 to give them an opportunity to expand their writing workshops. As part of the initiative alums will also visit the children of migrant farmers and others for whom author visits are rare in order to nurture a greater diversity in potential young writers.

“With this initiative, we’re applying one of VCFA’s most powerful resources – our large, growing, and passionate alumni network – to an imperative in our field: the need for literature that represents a full range of human experience and for networks that support diverse artists to realize their potential,” said VCFA president Thomas Christopher Greene in a statement.

The VCFA program, which began as a pilot project earlier this year, offered writing workshops to more than 150 kids at 826 Boston and New York City’s Behind the Book. With the backing of the college and sponsorship from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency, the program hired alumna Katie Bayerl to direct the network.

Bayerl told PW that she plans to expand the network’s reach in Boston and New York City, and to add programming in Vermont, New Hampshire, the Bay Area, northern Alaska, and Louisiana. Eventually she would like to see the network cover the entire country and for VCFA to offer a free writing camp in the summer for underserved kids. “The goal,” Bayerl said, “is to change who gets into a writing career and for young people to imagine themselves as writers.”