Partner with Us

Need

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.

Framework

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.

Intervention

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.

Training:

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.

Impact

  • Mentored poetry with 6,500 individuals
  • Studies demonstrating decreases in anger, depression, and cravings for alcohol among substance abusers after Pongo poetry writing
  • 15 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 85 trainings on the Pongo Method
  • 95 Pongo-Inspired projects around the world

Poetry Mentorship

Pongo can work with your organization, school, or extracurricular program to offer poetry mentorship programming for the youth you serve.

We offer a recurring program, where our team of trained mentors visit your site on a weekly basis to facilitate poetry writing with youth using our trauma-informed approach. Alternatively, we offer discrete poetry mentorship sessions on an infrequent or single-instance basis. Each session is approximately 60 minutes, and consists of group and individual poetry writing exercises.

Pongo will coordinate the planning of poetry mentorship with the support of an on-site liaison and supply the necessary teaching materials (i.e. writing activities, printer paper, snacks, etc.). Each youth in your program will receive a published anthology of Pongo youth poetry ($20 value).

Training

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 our Program Manager, Shaun McMichael, MAT, an educator with 10 years of teaching experience and WA State Certification in ELA/ELL. 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 programmanager@pongopoetryproject.org