In 2019, YourWords STL provided:
- Weekly tutoring at The Drury House for 16-20 year old young men and at The Sequoia House for 16-20 year old young women at Marygrove Children’s Home, a therapeutic residence in Florissant, MO for children who have experienced abuse or have nowhere to turn.
- Year-round creative writing workshops at The Drury House & The Sequoia House at Marygrove Children’s Home with two chapbooks currently in production. Teaching artists, Kyle Kranes-Rutz, Aysia BerLynn, Joey Ferber, and Anna Ojascastro Guzon, led our workshops.
- A collaborative project, “Crossing Delmar,” between the fourth-graders at Moline Elementary and the fifth-graders at New City School. The schools are 9.5 miles apart but divided by Delmar Avenue, and thus have entirely different student populations. YWSTL led three writing workshops at each school, during which students read, wrote, discussed, and created audio recordings of their poetry. 82 students from Moline Elementary and New City School then met for the first time, at Innovation Hall, in The Cortex, where they participated in team-building activities, worked on a collaborative mural, discussed and recorded each other’s poetry, and in the process, created podcast episodes. Jai Lian Yang and Treasure Shields Redmond, hosts of the Who Raised You? Podcast, interacted with the students, taught them about professional podcasting, and created a podcast episode about their work with the fourth and fifth-graders. Listen to Who Raised You? Season 2: Episode 6 to be inspired by our young people.
- Summer creative writing workshops focused on poetry and video recording at Lift for Life Gym led by Donna Harrison-Patton. Watch the young poets here.
- A staged reading of This is Me: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, where actors performed the written works of the 16 to 20 year old residents at Marygrove at the Ferguson Youth Initiative.
- A live theatrical performance of This is Me: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, was held in June at Innovation Hall in partnership with KTK Productions & Marygrove Children’s Home. Professional actors, under the direction of local director Kyle Kranes-Rutz, brought the young peoples’ stories of persistence to life by performing the written works of the 16-20 year old residents at Marygrove Children’s Home. There was a photography exhibit by the young women, collaborative soundtracks by the young men, a digital backdrop, and a Q&A that followed the show where the writers expressed that there is power in the act of listening.
- A partnership with Dream Builders 4 Equity that consisted of three days of creative writing workshops & activities led by Anna Ojascastro Guzon and teaching artist John Blair. Students created poems, sharing aspects of their lives ranging from music to their favorite color, to aspects of the community that they love, as well as physical pieces of art using books as canvas. Their writing will be featured in the next volume of Dream Builders 4 Equity Book series!
Our programming is made possible from donors like you! #GiveYourWords on #GivingTuesday to support our work that empowers our local youth. As always, donations are tax-deductible.