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February 25, 2010

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February 25, 2010

As a poet-in-the-schools, a high school teacher of 35 years, a writer of 2 books on teaching writing, and a coordinator of writer/artist school visits, I value highly what InsideOut brings to the Detroit students. I donate yearly, buy the schools' anthologies to use in the schools where I work, and have just today watched two InsideOut writers in three classes (grades 3, 10, and 11, including a social studies class). Classroom teachers and students alike find the act of writing becomes genuinely engaging, as live and lively writers lead them through writing experiences that open their imaginations, develop their pleasure in language, and above all help them believe in themselves and in one another as individuals with the right to make their own artistic choices. Teachers see all these strengths can be transferred to the writing of expository, critical, and personal essays.Students who care about writing are more likely, also, to become reflective, appreciative readers--to "read as writers." Every child deserves the experiences offered by a strong writers-in-the-schools program like InsideOut.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

I'm especially impressed with the presence of young interns--their energy, enthusiasm, and generosity of spirit, and the special rapport they tend to have with younger students.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand the CityWide Poets after-school program; develop more training and sharing opportunities for the teaching artistS; create more interdisciplinary programs (especially important given the absence of art and music in many schools)

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 1, 2009

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October 1, 2009

I'm on the faculty of a state university, and became aware of Inside Out through alumni work. I am astonished at what Inside Out does, and wish that all of my incoming freshmen could've had the kind of experience that Inside Out provides. The program (1) teaches students to love words, ideas, and creative expression by encouraging them to work and play with words, ideas, and images (rather than merely receive words and images passively), and (2) by publishing their work, teaches students that their thoughts are important and worthy of consideration, and that they have a contribution to make to their community, to literature, and to society as a whole. Inside Out, then, jumpstarts both intellectual and civic engagement. Three cheers!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

encountering amazing written work by young writers.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase its scope (bring the program to more schools), and try to partner it with institutions of higher education, so that the young writers have a continuing path to success.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the surprisingly sophisticated work produced by the students. The writers involved with Inside Out not only teach kids to write; they teach them to write well.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Talented, friendly, and dedicated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

greatly increase literacy in its state and region by putting writers into schools and getting kids excited about words and ideas; increase civic engagement by making kids into thinkers and doers.

Ways to make it better...

I was one of the writers Inside Out put into the schools to work with kids. That must be a fantastic experience!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

people who don't understand that engagement with the arts empowers young people and builds character, and people who think that poetry is frivolous (rather than understanding that working with words and ideas is vital, basic, and cost-effective).

One thing I'd also say is that...

I wish this program was duplicated in every state in our country. It would improve literacy and civic engagement.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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