Connecting with young writers

A portrait of Asha Young
Asha Hunt

Asha Hunt recalls visiting the library with her mom and creating little stories on small pieces of paper as a child. Melanie Rayl discovered her passion during freshman year of high school. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird inspired her to dig deeper into her talents.

Hunt, a rising senior at Mt. Lebanon High School, decided it was time to get more serious with her writing after connecting with author Michael Evans last summer. Evans introduced her to the founder of Young Eager Writers (YEW), Desiree Brown. She joined the group and told Rayl, Mt. Lebanon Class of 2022, about the group.

“She was just gushing about how cool an experience this was and encouraged me to look into it.” Rayl was convinced, and she also got involved with YEW. Rayl and Hunt both serve on YEW’s marketing committee as social media coordinators.

A portrait of Melanie Rayl
Melanie Rayl

Young Eager Writers offers various services for young adults, including writers’ groups, book clubs, internships, mentorship programs and a multitude of other options in the group. YEW also publishes newsletters and informative blogs. It runs independently from the high school.

Hunt connected with fellow student writers throughout the country. “It’s made me a more confident writer,” she said. She also remains tied to the program by participating in regular Zoom meetings. She’s learned that age alone does not dictate a writer’s talent.

Rayl uses the program as a resource to broaden her sphere of writing with exposure to new genres and styles of writing. She also enjoys supporting other aspiring writers.

Regardless of where they go from here, the young women believe the program adds a valuable element for a student’s future path. Hunt plans on pursuing a degree in business or English, and Rayl would like to major in English.

“I want to continue to learn about the world and myself through books and writing,” Rayl said.

Learn more about Young Eager Writers at