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  

I'm a professional nature writer and a long-time enthusiast of River of Words (ROW). In its early years, I worked for International Rivers Network where ROW got its start, and was fortunate to work events in San Francisco and Washington. D.C. when the kids were celebrated and honored for their work. One year, I interviewed all the kids, and their positive and passionate attitudes were awe inspiring. I can easily say that ROW is my favorite kid-friendly environmental and art organization.

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

witnessing an increased confidence in the kids involved. I've talked to many of them who told me that the contest changed their lives.

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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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

The River of Words poetry contest has shown my students that they can be inspired to write about their love for the natural world and be recognized for their efforts. Not only is the potential for publication a powerful incentive for writing, the publications of previous winners provide models to encourage and instruct my students in their own endeavors. When my students began to become winners and travel to Washington DC for the awards ceremony it added another dimension to this potential for recognition. This sense of limitless possibility was not a feeling many of the winning children were used to, one in particular, who was chosen as a grand winner, had been homeless on and off for some time and was amazed at the outside interest and encouragement provided by River of Words. I have countless stories of how participation in the River of Words program have has helped inspire my students, and been an invaluable tool in assisting me to teach writing skills. I have found that writing about the natural world opens up opportunities to work with other disciplines. I decided to work with an after-school environmental club. It was in one of these short workshops that Luis wrote Waterfall Slam the poem that secured him a place as a finalist in the ROW contest. For a fourth grader, it was a major encouragement, he had an article and photo in the newspaper and the experience changed him. He became one the most self-confident writers in the fifth grade. The following year, he was the MC for Poetry night, was referred to the gifted program and went to Middle School as an honor student. I was impressed by the power of success to bring more success. Carlos was a finalist in the River of Words two years in a row. He wrote a poem both in English and Spanish in his fifth grade class. The first year Carlos didn’t want to read his poem in Spanish but he we convinced him to do it anyway. When a family from Puerto Rico came up to him afterward, who had only understood the Spanish version, he was always eager to read his poems in both languages. He was invited back to DC for the third time to read at the National Book Festival. He even signed the beautiful River of Words Book at the book signing with Pamela Michael. I was given the Teacher of the Year award in May of 2009 and it was a great honor. This program has changed lives including mine.

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

As I have described in my story,the River of Words program has helped my students to learn about the narural world,to excel in poetry , and they have experienced success which has brought them even more success.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

As a teacher and administrator, I find River of Words to be the very best program/contest for elementary school students. It is really the only one I emphasize every year at our school with teachers and kids. It is so important for children to understand their connection to the natural environment because it encourages responsibility, stewardship, and certainly learning. Children naturally seek to know how they fit in to the world. How they belong. Understanding one's watershed and then expressing this understanding and relationship in words and visual arts has brought out some truly amazing and outstanding products. This program has opened the door of poetry to some very unlikely students. We had one National Poetry Winner from our school, a State Art Winner, as well as other students recognized. I always display every entry in our school so all of the participants are recognized. This program is a perfect vehicle for integrating so much of the curriculum...science, art, writing, environmental studies, social studies, and even math!

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

witnessing an incredible interest in writing poetry among so many students. It has also been a vehicle for integrating curricula and focusing on environmental stewardship schoolwide.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-2-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

River of Words is a wonderful organization which recognizes the strong connection kids feel to the natural world and encourages them to express themselves through poetry and art. The results are amazing! Each year the contest produces a wonderful outpouring of inspiration from students all over the world. The resource materials and lesson plans for teachers are first rate. I recommend this program to classroom teachers at every level!

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

My students have had their writing and artwork recognized by River of Words and been validated and inspired to continue writing and drawing because of it.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

River of Words provides a wealth of curriculum resources to teachers to support environmental education through art and writing. I found out about their amazing resources and student art and poetry contest in 1998 and have been sharing the wealth with my students ever since. River of Words is a trailblazer in Environmental Education. Their international contest is extraordinary in the ways that it touches and inspires students and teachers around the world. Their books are treasures for the classroom and I share them each year with a new group of students to inspire THEIR vision for preserving, conserving and treasuring our natural resources around the world.

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

The inspiration that students literally draw from their books of student art and poetry about water resources. My student artwork is grounded in the rich tradition that River of Words compiles from children around the world to celebrate a world of beauty.

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

sharing the beautiful illustrations by children around the globe "picturing" the treasures of the natural world.

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

helpful, thoughtful, and passionate about the natural world.

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

bring the world to awareness about living sustainably and the importance of preserving our natural resources. They would create a world of artists and writers to preserve, conserve, and share resources responsibly.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

The River of Words curriculum is inspirational to students, who get to experience nature in a less structured and more personal way than many lessons, and to teachers who get to be children again and open their eyes to wonder. The entire program makes a huge difference by reminding people of the beauty of nature and the diverse ways in which people experience that beauty.

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

Even though I was in the instructor role in the workshops offered, I myself was inspired by seeing the world through teacher and student eyes.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I'm so inspired by the creative and insighful poetry and art submitted to River of Words, year after year, from children around the world. This small organization does wonders encouraging kids to express their connection with water and nature.

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

the River of Words annual exhibits of art and poetry. Hearing the young award-winning poets read their work, it's clear that the program empowers students to creatively explore and share their prespectives on water and nature.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

River of Words is the ideal in promoting water education. We used their resources as examples for our local teachers to help them brainstorm ideas of their own and bring the love of water into their classrooms.

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

education.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Teachers respond to ROW as a way to help them teach environmental education topics and environmental sensitivity in the classroom. ROW gives us an opportunity to combine science with the arts by giving students the chance to express their thoughts and feelings about their watersheds and related science topics. They can increase their sense of place through creating art and poetry of their home. Students respond to ROW because it's FUN and gives them a chance to show their talents and learn more about art and poetry. In this time of reduced school art programs and lack of environmental education, ROW provides a way to allow students to learn and grow in both.

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

educating youth and adults in the importance of environmental sensitivity, water resources, and the arts.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

 
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