Writing Through Trauma to Empower Readers: A Working In-Community Retreat for Storytellers

In-Person | Essential Conversations, In-Community Retreats
A 3-night/4-day writing retreat for authors who are crafting books for kids and teens that center their lived experiences in areas of trauma, mental health, grief, and beyond.

April 11 - April 14

Highlights Foundation Campus


Join this 3-night/4-day writing retreat designed for authors who are crafting books for kids and teens that center their lived experiences in areas of trauma, mental health, grief, and beyond.

About the Program

We believe there is hope in harnessing the transformative power of storytelling.  Explore therapeutic writing techniques that enable you to create narratives that empower and uplift, offering young audiences valuable insights and resilience in the face of adversity.

The program includes:

  • Presentations from authors Amy King, Padma Venkatraman, Heather Demetrios, and author & mental health professional Bethany Walker. (Additional support to come.)
  • Opportunities for group discussion and peer-to-peer connections.
  • Introductory activities to establish safety protocols, provide story/sharing content warnings, and details about connecting with our on-site support staff.

How It’s Structured

This is a lightly scheduled program with optional/informal group activities (like meditation, stretching, and fireside chats).  There will be one keynote presentation each day.  There will be an abundance of writing and retreat time; please bring your stories.

Upon registration you will be asked to provide your goals and a brief bio for the program. Both items will only be shared with your faculty and staff. The questions are an effort, pre-retreat, to ensure that your goals and needs can be well-served by the content that will be offered during the workshop in a non-clinical setting.

Related Resources

Thank you to Rebecca Dykes Writers for providing one full scholarship and travel to this important program. To learn more about Rebecca Dykes Writers, please visit: rebeccadykeswriters.org.

Hope Through Storytelling

Authors who craft books for young people dealing with themes of trauma, mental health, grief, and beyond, do so to give kids a gift—the gift of transformative authenticity, representation, hope, empowerment, and inspiration through difficulties.


Special Guests


April 11 - April 14


Highlights Foundation Campus

362 Boyds Mills Road
Milanville, PA 18443

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.


All in-person Highlights Foundation workshops and retreats (including this one) are held at our Retreat Center: The Barn at Boyds Mills.  This site was the home of the original founders of Highlights for Children Garry and Caroline Myers, and is located in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania on the traditional and contemporary lands of the Lenape Nation.

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Shuttle service is included from the local airport and bus stations, or you can park on site. You’ll receive more information about logistics after you register.

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.