Youth Expression Through The Word

During a recent grant from The Community Foundation, The Word worked with 16 different public school classes and about 100 English Language Learners.

Performers at the Youth Poetry Jam. Photo credit: Judy Sirota Rosenthal.

The Word is a literary arts program for New Haven youth that brings experienced teaching poets, award-winning spoken-word artists, and emcees into the classroom to work with creative students, teachers, and administrators.

During a recent grant from The Community Foundation to support the program, The Word worked with 16 different public school classes across the city and held weekend-long poetry intensive for high school students that culminated in WordFest at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.

About 100 of the participants were English Language Learners who created bilingual poems and explored the art of translation. The Word also has a mission of helping students use poetry to process responses to trauma. Many students in the program used writing and performance to process their own past experiences with violence and take control of their narratives.

The Word is a program of The Institute Library. Learn more about the Institute Library on

Did You Know?

Students who have access to the arts in or out of school also tend to have better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement, according to the National Endowment for the Arts.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.