We the Poets is ArtWell’s most established program that uses poetry education to help students strengthen their creative voices and improve their literacy and communication skills. Classroom time is enriched through writing and spoken word performances where students can discuss personal and social issues, explore their emotions and identities, and develop deeper cultural understanding. We the Poets has a unique 66 lesson curriculum, aligned with state and federal standards for grades 1-12, and serves over 1,000 in more than 20 program sites. Because it is poetry focused, We the Poets has been used in Pennsylvania districts for standardized test (PSSSAs) preparation tied to literacy comprehension.
Since its founding in 2001, We the Poets has touched more than 10,000 students globally. Many of our alumni have come into the program on the cusp of failing and have left with a deep sense of possibility that has led them to excel in high school, and, ultimately in college and in life. What’s more, students continue to write and perform poetry they first learned in our classes.
Goals and Outcomes:
- Mentoring and Peer Mentoring: Individuals are connected to a network of professional artists who actively facilitate strong mentoring relationships. Youth have the opportunity to experience a “safe” environment where they can feel free to share feelings and challenges through poetry.
- Writing and Public Presentation Skills: Individuals learn to develop and present their poetry and artwork, thereby receiving life-long tools of self-expression. Performances, publishing, exhibits and a culminating event are designed to empower and strengthen their voices.
- Creative Use of Time: As they engage in We the Poets, individuals become passionate about their work, and give dedicated time to the art form they are creating. In doing so, they learn valuable time management skills as they spend time writing, practicing and crafting their poems.
- Character Development: Throughout our We the Poets program, individuals develop character borne out of strengthened positive identity, self-esteem and a sense of purpose.