River Of Words

Rating: 5 stars   21 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Environment, Water

Location: 933 Parker Street Studio #38 Berkeley CA 94710 USA

Mission:

River of Words (ROW) is aninterdisciplinary environmental poetry and art program that promotes literacy,the arts and environmental stewardship. River of Words is designed tonurture respect for and understanding of the natural world, to promote literacyin all its forms, and to build community partnerships. The organization aims tofoster place-based, local, interdisciplinary, hands-on education by promotinglocal knowledge of watersheds and the cultures they create; cultivating a senseof connection to place; encouraging action and imagination in young people; helpingthem acquire skills and practice in creating art and poetry; acknowledgingtheir creativity and concerns; and helping them to give back to their local,national and international communities through dissemination of their poetryand art. 


Results: In 15 years, we have trained thousands of educators in ways to incorporate nature exploration and the arts into their work with young people. We have nurtured tens of thousands of young people in kindergarten through 12th grade with curricula, publications, events, exhibitions, etc., helping them to become keen observers of the world around them, and giving them tools for creative expression of their observations. In 2004, River of Words was honored as one of the 100 most effective organizations in the country with an Innovations in Government Award from the Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Target demographics: We seek to serve the world’s children and their teachers, particularly those with few resources.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 300 teachers trained by River of Words national headquarters staff, another 300-600 trained by our 30 state coordinators. 20,000+ student participants in our free annual poetry and art contest. 200-600 students participating in classroom workshops.
Geographic areas served: International
Programs: Each year, in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, River of Words conducts a free international poetry and art contest for youth on the theme of WATERSHEDS. The contest is designed to help youth explore the natural and cultural history of the place they live, and to express, through poetry and art, what they discover.
2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 94-3378001
510-548-7636
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Students colored their ideas of a river and life in/around it. They designed it on envelopes and wrote stories in Spanish and/or English about what they learned. The 450 envelopes were streaming through the class upon completion and the students learned in art that the process was called an "installation." Suggestion:the website can post literature for parents to become involved so that the art and writing can be a home assignment.

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

The enthusiasm continued during our second year with two other classroom teachers participating. I noticed the language development increase as students wanted to share their personal stories about camping along a river or simply playing in a city creek.

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

. .ask many generous people to take a close look at the impact of such a strong leader and volunteers; add a sizable financial contribution and human energy to continue outreach to schools for children to understand they are the stewards of our planet.

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

. . .they have it together! Even though each year "they tweak it a bit" "it is on the money" with organization. I know they could use the outreach for staffing and other costs as the economy is a bit of a mess!

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

the staff is unbelievable! During the second year of our participation they had a naturalist come and speak to our students. Patient, kind and knowledgeable are only a few words to describe her. This mirrored the Directors' sincerity in making this happen

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

impact generations to come with outreach for young and old. I can envision a healthier planet and as a result of that, safer and happier.

Ways to make it better...

. . they could have someone speak to the principals to stress the importance of this type of education and how it impacts the learner. That would be very important! And, moreover, I suppose superintendents can request business and government to help!

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

. . . funding. They have such integrity and strength in their board I find that if they could have a great deal of funding and human resources they can make a great shift in our creative world which is sensitive to the human spirit.

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

. . . . thank you for the forum to stress the excellence of this organization.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

The river of words nonprofit has inspired my 5th grade students to submit poetry and art for the River of Words yearly competition. Our local ESD 113 in Olympia, Washington has a local celebration and sends it's top placing poems to the National contest. It such a joy to see students share their feelings through poetry as they work hard to edit and revise for a perfect poem.

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

My students have gained from this program and this year I had my first students invited to the National ceremony in Washington DC. Thank you for providing these most meaningful opportunities for children.

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

The encourage my students to write poetry.

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

Always greatful for students who participate.

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

Honor more students and provide travel for those less fortunate to be part of the national celebraton.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Mother Nature is our first and best teacher. She is not concerned with test scores or the latest fad in education. She is honest and authentic. River of Words, through their poetry and art initiatives, provides the platform for educators the world over to provide authentic education to their students. The arts are the most human endeavor we can engage in and education should be about developing humans not test takers. Helping our students discover that poetry hides everywhere from the whisper of the wind to the crevices etched by time and to be incite awe in Mother Natures's beauty is what River of Words is all about.

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

the way my students interact with nature. Their keen observations and interactions with nature while on summer holiday tell me that they have dived into the River of Words and immersed themselves in its lessons.

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

the validation of my young poets and the opportunity to for them to meet other students who share their passion for poetry and nature.

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

kind, enthusiastic, and fueled by their love of nature, words, and children.

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

impact the education system that seems to have forgotten that the purpose of education is not to create test takers but to nurture human beings.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-7-01

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