Poetry is Power Teen Institute

***Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this program will be held online.***

Poetry is Power Teen Institute is the only free poetry and creative writing teen institute aimed at serving young people in the Inland Empire, and specifically in San Bernardino.

Over the course of two weeks in July, young people will participate in courses on spoken word, comics poetry, poetic form, and the institute will culminate in a public reading and collaborative performance, in addition to a published anthology.

The mentor faculty who will be teaching this summer are award-winning and critically acclaimed poets and authors, in addition to junior faculty who are studying creative writing in local colleges and universities.

Poetry is Power Teen Institute is sponsored by the Literary Laureate and Inlandia Institute

During this program, teen writers from ages 12-17 will participate in writing workshops where they will generate their own work, read a variety of dynamic poems and stories, then produce an anthology of their original writing and perform for their family and friends.  Topics will range from spoken word poetry, poetry comics, and more. The program will be taught by award-winning, experienced mentor faculty writers and junior faculty members who are undergraduate and graduate students from the local colleges and universities.  Poetry is Power is based on the principles of mentorship, creativity, youth empowerment, and community engagement.


What are the dates for the program?

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, July 7, 9, 10, 14, 16, 17.

Who is eligible to participate, and what do you foresee them getting out of it?

Middle and high school young people are invited to participate, especially students who live in the San Bernardino area, which is considered an underserved community specifically in the literary arts.  Youth participants will gain connection and community, a chance to access their creativity and to tell their important and unique stories, an opportunity to gain serious and considered feedback on their writing, and their names and poems/stories published in a physical book.

How should interested teens reach out to get on the list?  

For interested teens and their families, they can fill out this interest form, follow the Inlandia Literary Laureate Instagram account at @inlandialitlaureate, or email Rachelle Cruz, Inlandia Literary Laureate and Poetry Is Power Program Director, if you have any questions at inlandialitlaureate@gmail.com.

I’m interested, but I don’t know how to use Zoom/my family doesn’t own a computer/I don’t have access to the internet. What can I do?

We understand this might be new to some of you and we will be available to assist with technology issues before and during the workshop. Send us an email if you might need some help with access to a web-enabled device.

Here is one resource list from our friends at Colton Joint Unified School District: https://www.colton.k12.ca.us/internet

Or visit this site, input your zip code, and see what kinds of low or no cost programs for internet and web-enabled devices in your area: https://www.everyoneon.org/find-offers

How can the community help you get the word out?  

You can share this opportunity with educators or school administrators you know, and share about it on your social media.  

What else can I do to help?  

If you are or know an undergraduate or graduate student who might be interested in serving as Junior Faculty, please share with them the blue (junior faculty recruitment) flyer below.

If you are or know any teens who might be interested in participating, please share the with them the yellow (student) flyer below.

If you or anyone is moved by this project to donate monetarily, they can send a check to Inlandia Institute and mark it for Poetry is Power.  We will use the funds for printing anthologies, notebooks, writing utensils, books, transportation for teens, and more. We’re also looking to provide healthy meals for our teen writers this summer,  so we’d happily accept gift cards for grocery stores, or local cafes and restaurants.

This program is supported by a California Arts Council Artists in Communities grant and with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit calhum.org. Part of the One Community, Many Voices Project.

Additional funding provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.