Partner with Us


Trauma affects people deeply, making it difficult for them to express themselves in ways that lead to healing. Trauma does not exist in a vacuum, and is created and compounded by systemic racism and other forms of oppression. Youth of color and those in poverty experience childhood trauma at disproportionately higher rates. Persistent exposure to trauma during childhood has profound long-term consequences. These include mental health issues, behavioral challenges, and learning difficulties.


We have developed the Pongo Method, a uniquely successful trauma-informed technique for teaching poetry created in collaboration with psychiatrists from the University of Washington School of Medicine. The Pongo Method allows our authors to open up and write about their trauma in a way that feels safe, offers relief, brings creative joy, leads to openness, facilitates growth, and inspires healing.


We employ the Pongo Method in two ways: direct service projects with youth and training on our methodology for educators, therapists, and others.

Direct Service:

Trained mentors facilitate poetry writing with youth in detention centers, psychiatric hospitals, and other sites frequented by youth who have experienced trauma.


Comprehensive training for counselors, teachers and artists on our proven, research-backed framework, that spurs the creation of projects supporting trauma victims around the world.


  • Mentored poetry with 6,950 individuals
  • Studies demonstrating decreases in anger, depression, and cravings for alcohol among substance abusers after Pongo poetry writing
  • 16 published anthologies of youth poetry and 17,000 copies distributed for free to youth and others
  • Evaluation results showing increased resilience, self-esteem, and emotional intelligence after Pongo poetry writing
  • Provided 90 trainings on the Pongo Method
  • 96 Pongo-Inspired projects around the world

Get Certified in the Pongo Method

Pongo Poetry Project’s certification program is designed to increase the number of youth who benefit from the Pongo Method; our evidence- based poetry facilitation methodology. Anyone who is interested in using poetry writing to help people
heal from trauma is welcome to attend Ignite Pongo; our training series. However, certification is the only way to receive ongoing, post-training support from Pongo in establishing your healing poetry programming.

By becoming certified in Pongo’s methodology, you will be part of a nationwide network of practitioners who can facilitate healing among youth in their local communities.

Applications for Pongo’s certification program are open once per year in the month of March. Reach out to for more information.


We offer a comprehensive training on the Pongo Method, our research-backed, trauma-informed framework for facilitating poetry writing.

Pongo trainings give an in-depth explanation of our trauma-informed approach, detail our teaching techniques, and offer time for practice and feedback. Our trainings are five hours in length, and led by Ashley Skartvedt, our Co-Executive Director, Programs. Trainings are co-led with the support of an experienced Pongo writing mentor and/or licensed clinician.

Pongo trainings are informed by our textbook Writing with At-Risk Youth: The Pongo Teen Writing Method. Attendees are highly encouraged to purchase the text for use during and after trainings.

For pricing information, please contact

Follow @pongopoetry on Instagram