Inklings Mentor, Melissa Savage, is using her skills to help medically frail children and their siblings express themselves through creative writing. Her Hero Program, supported by Society of Young Inklings, provides mentorship and publication opportunities where these heroes can explore the power of their voices and share their stories with the world. We interviewed Melissa to share more about her passion and vision for the program.

What inspired you to join the Inklings community?

The mission of Young Inklings is very close to my own personal goals as a writer and writing mentor, that is to inspire, encourage and support young writers in their creative pursuits.

What’s one dream you’ve pursued while taking part in our Society?

Developing a writing mentorship program specifically for families dealing with pediatric illness and/or loss.

Why is that dream important to you?

This is a dream I’ve had for over ten years after the loss of our son, Tobin. Story has an incredibly deep emotional connection to the soul for everyone. It surrounds us, sometimes guides us, and at times simply entertains us. We live in story, ours as well as the stories of others. Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise to me that writing became the most important element of healing when I have struggled with my own life’s challenges. I see its healing component in my work as a therapist and my work as a writing mentor as well. Children and teens live in story with their own unique experiences with their own unique filters. Through story, these young writers share their emotions, pains, dreams, fears, and experiences on the page. And they heal. They are empowered. They are heard. What an amazing gift it is to stand alongside them on that journey as we are able to create space for our heroes to share the power of their words with the world.

How has the Inklings community supported you and your dream?

I have loved being a part of Young Inklings as a mentor for young writers. It is a wonderful place to support and encourage young writers of all kinds. I shared my dream to support families struggling with pediatric illness through the power of story with Naomi, Young Inklings’ Executive Director, and she was incredibly supportive and encouraging. She graciously invited me to just jump in and start this new program under the Society of Young Inklings umbrella, using all her materials and lessons with her full blessing and support. So, I did just that. I started this past summer with two virtual mentees and one summer camp for siblings through Crescent Cove Children’s Hospice, working with both the patients themselves and the siblings of the patients.

All these children experiencing medical trauma, separation of family, and ultimately even loss was an experience that’s difficult to put into words. To say it’s a privilege to walk with these families in their journey doesn’t say enough. They all have a story to tell and these amazing young writers have put that story into powerful words on the page. Some in metaphor, some in realistic detail, all of them poignant and profound in their own way. As a part of the summer camp experience, we had a public reading for family and friends. The young authors shared their completed works aloud which was an amazing experience. The kids were so excited to share their words and the families were so grateful to have Young Inklings provide a space where their kids could process these very difficult experiences and emotions – all in the safety of story.

How have you grown while pursuing this dream?

When difficult things happen, you grow. Your image of the world around you grows larger. And you grow in ways you didn’t know you needed. This program makes a difference in the world. I’ve seen it in the faces of the children and I’ve heard it in the words shared by parents. And what an honor it is to create space for them to share the power of their words. 

What’s next? What’s your vision?

My vision and hope is that I would be afforded the opportunity to continue to build this new initiative through Young Inklings for families and their young writers, a program that would allow even more families to benefit from the incredible healing power of writing. It is my wish to have the opportunity to offer a limited time virtual mentorship writing program that includes Young Inklings Fresh Ink publishing program component so that families could have a finished and published copy of their journey of healing. This permanent treasure, a reminder of the new journey they will begin and the new experiences they will carve out with a new sense of strength, healing, and growth. Walking out into the world with a new image. An image that has grown larger, an image that brings new meaning. An image of healing. 


Melissa Savage worked for many years as a child and family therapist and believes that expressing oneself through writing can be a very healing process when struggling with difficulties in life. Melissa attributes her love of writing to her second-grade teacher, Miss Mahle, who introduced her to writing at seven years old. The Lost Pony won critical acclaim from Melissa’s mom and was the start of her love of writing. She eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University in Minnesota and published her debut book, Lemons with Penguin Random House’s Crown Books for Young Readers in 2017. Melissa has since begun teaching workshops for both children and adults. She has gone on to write The Truth About Martians (2018), Nessie Quest (2020), and Karma Moon, Ghost Hunter (2021). Melissa loves art, theatre, hiking, and eating marshmallows straight out of the bag. You can find her at melissadsavage.com.

Support Grit, Empathy, and Vision through Creative Writing

When passionate youth mentor with talented pros, they not only grow as writers, but they develop core skills that affect every area of their lives.  In Inklings programs, youth learn practical strategies for developing as artists, gain creative momentum, and tap into the power of their voices as they share their work with peers and a reading audience. Thank you for our financial support of Society of Young Inklings.