GO! Creative and DCCWW Give Underserved Children a Beautiful Medium for Self-expression
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Hart Middle School is the only inner-city public middle school with a literay magazine. They’ve published over 40 issues. The kids who contribute their original poetry to the magazine, hArtWorks, have won more awards than any school in D.C., public or private. The population at Hart is underserved youth and almost 100% African American.
D.C. Creative Writing Workshop [dccww.org] is the force behind this accomplishment. DCCWW is a non-profit started by Nancy Schwalb who was inspired while working with youth through Americorps. Fifteen years ago, Schwalb brought her idea to Hart Middle School in Washington, DC. The school embraced the program as an in-school and after-school activity, offering space and facilities. The program is also offered to students at Simon Elementary School and Ballou High School, both located in DC.
In the writing workshops, students work with published writers to create poetry. They are introduced to poetry samples which they analyze in order to ultimately develop and perform their own poems. An after-school child care accomodation for attendees’ younger brothers and sisters is an additional part of the program.
Although Hart is proud of graduating students who have been awarded scholarships and continue to attend the program as artists in residence, they are most satisfied to see students’ issues resolved when they become a part of this program. Schwalb points out, “The program provides an outlet for the kids as a way to avoid negative behaviors and have their voices heard. It turns writing into something enjoyable.”
To help build DCCWW, make a donation at dccww.org.