Youth Speaks Hawai’i, a program of non-profit Pacific Tongues, supported by the Hawai`i Arts Alliance, promotes teen literacy and civic engagement through the performance art of slam poetry by offering weekly writing workshops, hosting monthly poetry slams and open mics, organizing interscholastic poetry slams, and sending a youth team to national competition every summer. Our writing workshops reach over 1,000 students every year, and our monthly poetry slams and open mics attract over 600 guests a year. Dozens of schools have participated in our interscholastic poetry slams, and every year since 2007, our national team has made semi-finals at the Brave New Voices International Youth Slam Poetry Festival, winning back-to-back international titles in 2008 and 2009. Members of the national teams have gone on to attend numerous institutions of higher learning, including the University of San Francisco, Brown University, Stanford University, New York University, and the First Wave Hip-Hop Theatre Ensemble at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. In addition to our work on Oahu and competitive excellence, our statewide outreach reaches thousands of students a year. Recently, we conducted writing workshops at  Kea’au High School on the Big Island, reaching over 500 students.

Our program performs a vital service for the communities in which we operate. While education and arts funding are slashed from school budgets, we help youth develop the critical literacy, writing skills, and public speaking skills they will need to succeed in the world. In addition, we challenge disenfranchised youth to become socially aware and engaged in their communities, confronting the issues they face with constructive dialogue. We provide youth with a positive outlet for creative energy and an alternative to the cycles of drug addiction and violence faced by underprivileged communities.

Wednesday Writing Workshops are held every Wednesday from 4:30 to 6pm at the Arts @ Mark’s Garage (1159 Nu`uanu Ave).  Workshops are free for teenagers 13 to 19.

The “2nd SATurday” Monthly Poetry Slam & Open Mic starts at 3:00pm on the second Saturday of every month at the Arts @ Mark’s Garage (1159 Nu`uanu Ave). Admission is FREE.

For more information, please:
visit our website at http://pacifictongues.org
follow us on facebook at http://facebook.com/youthspeakshawaii
subscribe to our youtube channel at http://youtube.com/youthspeakshawaii
or send us an email at info@pacifictongues.org