As you weigh worthy causes to support, consider making a tax-deductible donation in support of programs such as VerbQuake Youth Poetry Slam administered by UrbArts. Since 2012, VerbQuake has created a space for young voices in St. Louis and has inspired support from teachers who sponsor this program at their schools. Below is a letter from one of them, Maggie Schuh of Central Visual and Performing Arts.
Amidst all the discontent in the country, amidst all the distrust in St. Louis, voices rise. People are speaking out against the prejudice, the hatred, the inequality. These voices are strong. These voices are articulate, creative. These voices are original, these voices are new, and they belong to our children.
Something really remarkable has been happening within the St. Louis public high schools for a couple of years now. Something that never gets coverage on the news, but it deserves some attention. Something that has nothing to do with sports, but it involves being on a team.
For the past five years, dozens of St. Louis students have been gathering to write, share, and perform original spoken-word poetry. They explore intimate, personal feelings. They consider important, topical issues. They talk about the things that most of us are afraid to talk about. This kind of unapologetic, uncensored, unafraid dialogue is rare among adults. But UrbArts has provided a safe place for our young people to do this. And they have thrived.
You are in an important position. You have the ability to directly impact and benefit these students. We are building community of young poets from the ground up. All we have is our words. You have the means to make our words a reality.
As a St. Louis Public School teacher and a participant in the VerbQuake program for the past four years, I can personally attest to its benefits. The sense of community, exploration of literacy, and celebration of personal voice that VerbQuake fosters has allowed even my most reserved students to be heard. I am continually impressed by the quality of work that the students create, and perhaps most exciting for me as a teacher: I love the fact that they are learning so much about language and themselves without even realizing it. Thank you for your consideration and support.
UrbArts is committed to creating platforms and platforming creatives but we need your help to provide youth arts workshops, produce innovative events, and make community arts sustainable. Please make a tax deductible donation of $25, $50, $100, $250, and $500.
For the past four summers, UrbArts sent teams of poets to national competition. One of those teams represented St. Louis at the Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Slam Festival in Washington D.C. We will send six teens living throughout the St. Louis region to Brave New Voices in San Francisco in July to share their most powerful ideas in the form of poetry. We need your help with sending them there. Consider donating today!
**Please note our donations policy: All donations are final. No refunds or exchanges.**