The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University has received a $33,472 grant from the Howard Atwood Family Fund of Akron Community Foundation. The grant project, titled “Encouraging New Voices,” is a collaborative initiative between the Wick Poetry Center and Akron Public Schools designed to increase literacy among students in grades 3-12. The project will run from October 2014 to October 2015.
Beginning this winter, teaching artists will begin working with students in the classroom at Akron Public Schools. Next summer, the Wick Poetry Center in Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences will host a workshop for participating teachers on the innovative methods of teaching content subjects through creative writing exercises.
“We have a long-standing reputation of pioneering programming and outreach initiatives,” said Jessica Jewell, program director at the Wick Poetry Center. “This grant allows us to meet a direct need in the community, which is to empower students to share their stories and creative accomplishments, while also engaging in deeper learning experiences.”
Members of the Wick Poetry Center will hold writing residencies in Akron Public Schools that focus on creative writing and the Common Core. Students will explore individuality and community with the ultimate goal of increasing literacy.
The project also will feature student participation in writing workshops and field trips to the Wick Poetry Center’s new home at the university’s May Prentice House where they will engage with a state-of-the-art community classroom, visit the Poetry Park and the Kent Campus. Jewell estimates that this project will impact 10 to 15 teachers and approximately 210 students.
“The project is the first of its kind for the Wick Poetry Center, which draws on 30 years of programming and outreach initiatives,” Jewell said. “Although it is not uncommon for poetry centers to offer poetry-writing workshops for area classrooms, we are proposing meaningful changes to poetry workshop curriculum that address the needs of implementing state standards for content subjects.”
About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 59 years of building community philanthropy, Akron Community Foundation embraces and enhances the work of charitable people who make a permanent commitment to the good of the community. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. Today, it is a philanthropic endowment of $181 million with a growing family of more than 450 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. To date, the community foundation’s funds have awarded more than $114 million in grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. For more information about Akron Community Foundation, call 330-376-8522 or visit www.akroncf.org.
About the Wick Poetry Center
The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University was founded in 1984 and will be celebrating its 30th anniversary on campus this September. Recently, the Wick Poetry Center relocated from Satterfield Hall to a renovated building called the May Prentice House on the Lefton Esplanade. For more information about the Wick Poetry Center, visit www.kent.edu/wick.
Carly Sachs (left), Kent State University doctoral student and a teaching artist with the Wick Poetry Center, discusses poetry with Shreya Basu, a freshman from Theodore Roosevelt High School, in the Kent State University Library during Wick Juniors, the center's summer writing workshop. (Photo credit: Erin LaBelle)