I've worked as a writing mentor for four years with Pongo Teen Writing, first at the Child Study & Treatment Center, the state psychiatric hospital for youth, and then at King Co. Juvenile Detention, where I most recently served as Site Lead.
I have also volunteered with the in-patient psychiatric unit at Seattle Children's Hospital and with youth at Washington Middle School, Friends of the Children, the Rotary Boys & Girls Club and Seattle Parks and Recreation Out There Poetry Camp for queer youth. Additionally, I have adapted the method to use with adults at L'arche Seattle.
Visit Pongo Teen Writing to learn more about the project and to read poetry by youth. Click on the image below to watch PBS NewHours' story on Pongo, featuring U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.
Pongo Teen Writing asks its mentors to write own own poetry each week, both to sharpen our skills as facilitators of youth writing and to assist us with processing the traumatic narratives we bear witness to.
Each year, Pongo mentors share their own work at venues such as Elliot Bay Book Company and library branches around Seattle to raise awareness about Pongo and to celebrate poetry.
I have assisted with other local readings, including (pictured below) a reading of Clearly Now, The Rain: A Memoir of Love and Other Trips, by Pongo Assistant Director, Eli Hastings, at Elliot Bay Book Company.