Voices sponsors in-school projects that combine our curriculum resources with experiential projects for students that are linked to the local histories and stories of people in our communities, and teacher training workshops that teach educators how to work with our materials in the classroom.
Stories of Arrival: Youth Voices was designed by poet Merna Ann Hecht to bring the use of poetry, drama, and literature to youth who were recent arrivals to the U.S., many of whom had experienced war, been born in refugee camps, or immigrated under considerable hardship. Ms. Hecht approached us with the idea for supporting this project in partnership with a one-time start-up grant from the Seattle chapter of Bread for the Journey and a grant from The Institute for Poetic Medicine in Palo Alto, CA. She had already establsihed a working relationship with and support from both Jack Straw Productions and KBCS 91.3 FM Radio. We immediately signed on as project partners.
Hecht worked with students to help them create poems about the experiences that led to their immigration or relocation from another part of the world or country to their current residence in Tukwila, WA. The poems generated in this project reflect and celebrate a patchwork quilt of global traditions and cultural heritage as expressed by young poets from places as diverse as Eastern Washington, Mogadishu and Baghdad. In the last two years, under the guidance of Ms. Hecht, more than 50 Foster High School students have been involved in writing about their experiences of immigration. Numerous audiences have witnessed their work performed in live readings and over 70,000 listeners of KBCS 91.3 FM radio have listened to their stories.
Partners for Stories of Arrival
- Because hearing each other’s stories creates understandings across borders and cultures;
- Because it is important for young people to feel empowered by speaking their truth, telling about their experiences and writing for a meaningful purpose and a wide and diverse community audience;
- Because stories of leaving one place or country and arriving in another help all people understand the experience of learning a new language and adjusting to a new culture, while honoring and preserving languages and cultures of origin;
- Because we all need opportunities to celebrate our languages and cultures.
The poets involved in the Stories of Arrival Program were each asked to name the anthology of their work. Here are all the titles submitted:
- Influences: Words from Immigrants
- Young Warriors with Strong Voices
- It is so difficult to live in Someone Else’s Country
- We are Proud
- A Corner of the Word
- Everyone has his or her own language
- Words of the Globe
- Poets from the World
- The Young Poets of Memory
- A Word from Each Country
- Youth Voices!
- Influences: Feelings from Young Minds
- Strong Feelings
- Students from the Sad Places
- Memories from the Past
- The Dreams of Young People
- Why did we leave?
- One Multicultural Family—Universal Voice
- Soldiers with Pencil and Paper
- Our Happiness and Sadness
- Difficult Lives
- The Poems of a Teenager
- Young Voices
- Stories from our Heart