Pongo 1.0 Training: October 23rd

Pongo 1.0 Training: October 23rd


Join Pongo 1.0 to learn foundational techniques to facilitate personal, healing poetry in your classroom, therapeutic practice, or community space.

Tickets & Registration Information Here


Participants will plunge into the Pongo method for facilitating powerful personal poetry that inspires healing, growth, and community! In this immersive training, attendees will develop foundational skills needed to be an impactful Poetry Mentor who can remove barriers to self-expression, and encourage honesty from survivors of difficult life experiences. During the day’s activities, registrants will also be writing their own poetry and will experience the relief and joy generated from Pongo’s approach to therapeutic poetry. Join teachers, therapists, and other community members in this engaging training which has inspired over 90 poetry projects around the world!

TENTATIVE AGENDA: (in Pacific Standard Time)

10:00am Module (Mod) 1: Poetry, Trauma, Racial Justice

11:15am Mod 2: Fill-in-the-Blank (FITB) Technique; Gold’s Triangle

12:45pm Lunch

01:15pm Mod 2: FITB Wrap Up

01:40pm Mod 3: Group Poem How-To

02:40pm Mod 4: Resources, Next Steps, Q&A, Evaluation

COST*: $200

Includes* 2 free, one-hour-long consultations with a Pongo trainer to support you in setting up your project.


Pongo 2.0 Participant Materials Packet ($8-shipping included)

Participants not ordering the packet will either have to a.) print out the packet at their own cost or b.) have the electronic version of the packet digitally accessible while doing the training. We highly recommend this packet accessible in print-form as we will be referencing it throughout the training. Relying on just the electronic version during the training is not recommended for those with only one computer screen and/or those uncomfortable navigating multiple windows while in online Zoom trainings).


For Teachers: You should be able to count this training towards CEUs. Ask your principal/department head ahead of time.


Pongo 1.0’s training will be recorded for educational and promotional purposes. By registering, you will give Pongo approval to record this event, still and/or moving images from which may appear in printed materials or digital channels for archival, educational, or promotional purposes.


Attendees are highly encouraged to purchase Writing with At-Risk Youth (2014) Written by Pongo’s Founder, Richard Gold , MA, Writing With At-Risk Youth (WAY) is the time-tested, essential field-guide to starting your own poetry project. WAY can be purchased on Amazon and other online booksellers.


Shaun McMichael, MAT

Washington State Certified Instructor of ELA & ELL, Shaun McMichael’s volunteering experience with Pongo between 2007-2010 catalyzed his 10-year career writing and teaching homeless youth, students with emotional/behavioral disorders, and English Language Learners (ELL).

In March 2020, Shaun returned to Pongo as Program Manager, overseeing Pongo’s direct service projects, trainings, and publishing. Shaun has edited two collections of youth poetry: The Shadow Beside Me (2020) and The Story of My Heart (June 2021). Over forty of his short stories and essays have appeared in literary magazines, online, and in print. As Shaun has led poetry writing projects in mental health treatment centers, youth service centers, special education classrooms, and currently at King County Juvenile Detention (CFJC), Shaun is excited to welcome you into the joy and complexity of this life-changing work.

Asia Moore, MSW, MA+

Asia Moore holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California, with a specialization in Children and Families and a Master’s Degree in Positive Developmental Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. Ms. Moore has worked as a clinical social worker in both educational and outpatient settings for six years; her areas of specialization include trauma and crisis intervention, identity development in children and adolescents, multiculturalism and multi-systemic advocacy, and the use of expressive healing arts. She holds certifications in Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (C-BITS), Solution-focused therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. Since connecting with Pongo Founder, Richard Gold, in 2017, Asia Moore has trained, studied, and implemented the Pongo Poetry methodology with thousands of students and clients in a variety of individual, group, clinical, and non-clinical based settings.

Ms. Moore has also worked within higher education for the past five years as a counselor and adjunct faculty member where she has designed culturally responsive programming, integrated systems of wellness into educational infrastructure, and facilitated trauma and culturally responsive teaching workshops for faculty and organizational leadership.

Ms. Moore is currently pursuing doctoral study in Positive Developmental Psychology and Evaluation at Claremont Graduate University. Her current research has focused on adapting positive youth development frameworks to inform intervention science for educators and helping professionals, with a specific focus on cultivating trust, rapport, and agency through the use of the expressive arts amongst marginalized communities. For the past two years, Ms. Moore has applied her robust clinical expertise as an evaluation associate and qualitative consultant for the Claremont Evaluation Center. During this time, she has assisted on comprehensive evaluation projects for after-school programs promoting positive youth development amongst low-income, marginalized communities; her key efforts have centered on contextually responsive instrument development and implementation, as well as the facilitation of staff interviews, focus groups, and observations. Whether Ms. Moore is working with clients directly or helping design and evaluate more responsive programming, she identifies as a cultural storyteller and artist first and foremost and is committed to using the creative to arts to heal and advocate for the people and programs in the most need.



To request a scholarship for this training, please email Barbara Green at executivedirector@pongoteenwriting.org.

Scholarship applications are evaluated on the extend to which they’re aligned with Pongo’s mission and values.

To be considered, all scholarships must be submitted by September 24th.

Scholarships will be granted by or before October 1st.





1.) Watch this Emmy-winning story about Pongo by King5 TV (see video below) and Reflect

  • What do you seen Poetry Mentors doing/not doing?
  • What do you seen Poets doing/not doing?
  • How can poetry inspire healing and growth?
  • How can you apply this to your learning today and in your poetry mentoring work to come?

2.) Choose a Poem to use to create a group activity. The poem should be

  • chosen for the audience you work with or want to work with
  • fairly short and accessible
  • feature a structure, such as a repeated line

Not sure where to start? Click here to check out Pongo’s bookstore. Pongo books feature poems from youth from King County Juvenile Detention and Child Study and Treatment Center (CSTC), Washington State’s largest psychiatric hospital for teens and children. Poems in our books serve as great example poems to use when creating an activity.


Pongo1.0 attendees will get the opportunity to write an individual poem and a group poem. Never written before or has it been a while? Don’t worry. It will be fun and Pongo trainers will be there to support you however you need. Read the poem below as an example of the powerful poetry that can come out of Pongo trainings:

New Life After 10 Years of Marriage

by Lauren, created during a Pongo training exercise

I’m starting a new life

It feels like walking through the fog

and discovering a new landscape

different than the one I left

not necessarily the one I thought I was heading to

Moving here has been an engagement with a new territory

It’s the first time I’ve ever lived by the ocean

Connected to the thunderous power of it

A fog breaks your walk into moments

scene after scene, image after image

It keeps you guessing

I disconnect from needing to know where I’m headed

in favor of the steps in front of me

I’m starting a new life

with a lot of unknowns

When you finish the last chapter of a book

and start a new one

there is not always continuity

When you slam close a book, it has a certain clap sound to it

like thunder of a storm that fades into the past

Sometimes there are stories that are over

no matter how hard you try to keep reading

sometimes the stories are just over

The characters have all left, the doors are all closed

And you find yourself in the fog

So I am starting a new life

This time it is mine

This times it is my story

This time it is my thunder

This time it is my power

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