Alexa's Lighthouse Writers Workshop Fundraiser!

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A nonprofit fundraiser supporting

Lighthouse Writers Workshop
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Language is our most common means of connection, and writing is our most accessible form of art.


raised by 17 people

$5,000 goal

It’s that time of year again! Colorado Gives Day is upon us, and I’m asking for your support of a truly special nonprofit organization, Lighthouse Writers Workshop. 

I’m now almost two years into my Marketing role at Lighthouse and six years into taking their writing workshops. It’s been an exciting year—we moved into a beautiful new building in the Cole/Clayton Neighborhood, hosted over 4,000 people during Lit Fest (our annual literary festival), are in the midst of publishing an anthology of work from our Young Writers Program, and more. But most importantly, Lighthouse brought writing and storytelling to those who need it most in our community.   

One of my main goals this year was to paint a full picture of who makes up Lighthouse. I’ve been interviewing and writing stories about individuals each month, called The 12 Stories of Homecoming, to celebrate how far we’ve come as an organization in our 26 years and to thank the people who got us there. 

I’ve met an instructor in our young writer's program who once participated in our young author’s cohort herself, a group of older poets who dubbed themselves The WYRD Sisters, a volunteer who selflessly gives her time to Lighthouse, and more. But one of the recent stories I published truly hit home. 

Lighthouse often asserts that writing is a transformative act and that there is power in storytelling. But every so often, we hear stories of Lighthouse Writers participants that truly pull this phrase into deep humanity. Such is the case with Marya Summers.

For decades, Summers was as busy as they come—a columnist for the alternative press, a singer-songwriter who performed on stages across the country, a professor who taught writing at many colleges and universities, and someone who led poetry and writing workshops at community organizations. Then, in 2017, Summers had a sudden onset illness that left her disabled.

“My story is unfortunately emblematic of so many others,” said Summers. “I had a full life, but that all stopped when I was forced to focus on my health.”

Unable to work, Summers was driven to homelessness. For years, she struggled with word-finding, reading, and writing. She struggled with the grief of the loss of her abilities and identity. But in 2022, she Lighthouse’s online Hard Times Writing Workshops, which are run in partnership with local libraries to provide community and a creative outlet for people who have recently experienced or are currently experiencing poverty, addiction, homelessness, and other hard situations. 

“I knew this workshop was special from the beginning,” said Summers. “There were no expectations; we had people of all abilities. I truly felt like someone had just thrown me a buoy because I was able to show up each day exactly where I was. Some days, I have better command over my language, and those are days I can workshop my poems. And other days, my illness takes over, and showing up means turning the camera off and lying down to listen to others. Communities like Hard Times give voice to people marginalized by their experiences.”

Earlier this year, Summers was also awarded the New Voices Fellowship, which honors two members of the Hard Times workshops and awards them free Lighthouse classes and the opportunity to read their work at a celebration at the end of the year.

“Being awarded the New Voices Fellowship helped me find a new purpose in life,” continued Summers. “Disability and homelessness affect my cognitive ability and emotional health. But writing poetry has really helped. When Lighthouse awarded me the fellowship, I thought to myself, ‘Now I have a purpose, a reason to live.’”  

“I see people being dismissive of arts programs all the time,” said Summers. “But Hard Times change lives for the better. This isn’t just frivolous spending. This program allows people to find their humanity again through art. And there’s power in that.” 


I hope this story inspires you the way it inspired me. When you give to Lighthouse, you support an organization doing extraordinary work in our community. Language is our most common means of connection, and writing is one of the most accessible art forms. A gift to Lighthouse is more far-reaching than just providing access to prestigious literary classes. It instead provides community, purpose, structure, and hope to writers, no matter their status in life. 

Last year, you helped me raise almost $4,000 for Lighthouse. So, this year, my goal is to raise $5,000 for Colorado Gives Day. 

This fundraiser supports

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Lighthouse Writers Workshop

Organized By Alexa Culshaw

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