“Maybe the greatest generation hasn’t been born yet.”
– James Kass, Founding Executive Director
Who does poetry belong to?
Back in the mid-90’s, when James Kass was pursuing his MFA at San Francisco State – a campus known for being radical, progressive, and diverse – he was disheartened that most of his classmates were white.
He knew that a diverse population of young people were writing, they just didn’t have a place to go — and there were more who would write if the opportunity arose. Inspired by this and the way in which young people were wrongfully portrayed in the media, James came up with the idea for Youth Speaks – a place where the next generation can speak for itself.
It was the beginning of a movement.
Since that time, Youth Speaks has created a series of innovative and impactful arts education and youth development programs that work with thousands upon thousands of young people each year. Youth Speaks also also helped 100+ organizations get off the ground across the globe. Together these organizations challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of change.
Youth Speaks is committed to bringing the noise from the margins to the core.
From the reservations of South Dakota, the public schools in the North Side of Philly, community centers in Johannesburg, South Africa and Oakland, California to Baton Rouge, Louisiana or Anchorage, Alaska, young people are unafraid to tell their own stories.
The Future is Unwritten.
Maybe the greatest generation hasn’t been born yet. Support the legacy that James and others created by investing in the future. An unrestricted gift to the next generation ensures the organization’s evolving future. Please join the Peace and Poetry Legacy Fund.
Details about the Peace and Poetry Legacy Fund:
— The Fund is supported by people invested in the potential of all young people. Your return on investment is measured not by the number of tickets we sell at the Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam but rather by the number of young people who are picking up pens to tell their stories in their own words.
— Like a business, Youth Speaks needs operating support to be sustainable over the long term. 100% of the Fund will support the infrastructure and growth needs of Youth Speaks.
— The Peace and Poetry Legacy Fund ensures that Youth Speaks poet mentors and arts administrators can afford to call the Bay Area home.
Your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Our 501c3 nonprofit tax ID number is 91-2134499.