Fifteen-year-old Teens in Print journalist Yasmin Mohamed pressed a button on a short story dispenser located just off the Prudential Center’s central atrium last week. As the story emerged from the machine, Mohamed saw her name printed at the top.
“The feeling of me and two strangers crowding around the machine [waiting] for my story had me giddy,” Mohamed said. “I felt like a mini-celebrity in that moment. They even wanted me to sign the paper.”
Mohamed is one of three teens whose writing was loaded into the machines in early December, marking the first time that local stories have appeared in the Prudential dispensers.
Lucky users of the Prudential Center’s story machines can now enjoy the student-written stories, originally published in Teens in Print, Boston’s only citywide high school newspaper. The stories are interspersed with the machines’ regular lineup of writing. Passersby may push a button to print and receive a one-, three-, or five-minute story on a strip of paper, completely free of charge.
Mohamed, a South End resident and sophomore at Snowden International School, contributed a three-minute narrative detailing the years she spent living in Somalia entitled “Magic of Monsoon Season.” Mohamed participates in the Teens in Print afterschool program, and is now an arts-and-entertainment editor for the youth newspaper.
Fenway resident Ivy Chen, a Boston Public Schools graduate who is now a freshman at UMass Boston, contributed “Let’s Stick Together,” an exploration of the history of chopsticks in three minutes.
The short story dispensers originated from France, created by publishing company Short Edition, whose goal is to increase literacy on-the-go. The machines were introduced to the Prudential Center in May 2017. Boston Properties, who owns the Prudential Center, was thrilled by the addition of the dispensers and the ability to showcase writing in an innovative way. Boston Properties is a supporter of WriteBoston, the nonprofit literacy organization that manages Teens in Print, and has been a long-time advocate of youth and community causes.
“Boston Properties is happy to work again with WriteBoston to provide the students an outlet for their writing and showcase their interests,” said Mary Fagan, office manager at Boston Properties. The dispensers are located near Club Monaco and Ann Taylor within the retail area of the Pru.