Dayton rallied to help an organization that knows the power of the written word put books into the hands of the kids who created them.
WRITElife, a program designed to empower Dayton Public Schools students through reading and writing poetry, distributed 133 books to students at the Dayton Leadership Academies on Friday, said Latesa Williamson, the program’s founder.
The community donated nearly $1,000 to help WRITElife Village print books containing the work of 63 students who took part in its workshops during a Dayton Leadership Academies’ Soaring Eagles Enhancement Program (S.E.E.P), an after-school program.
Much of the money was raised as part of a Facebook push following an earlier article written by this news organization about the fundraiser.
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As we told you earlier, several students contributed to multiple books, including “After the Tornado: Rainbow Poetry and Fresh Apples.”
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For that book, children as young as first-graders wrote poems, haiku, short plays and rap-song lyrics for the books, including the one dealing with the Memorial Day tornadoes.
Topics in the other books include summer fun, depression, bullying, equality and self-love.
Eleven mock coloring books were also distributed.
“Life is a poem; everybody is writing,” Williamson, the Dayton poet and performer known as A Slate, said via Facebook messenger. “We see our children being happy, healthy and free: emotionally, spiritually and mentally. As a result of being involved with The WRITElife Village all of these students have become published authors.”
In addition, more than 500 journals have been handed out to provide a healthy and therapeutic emotional outlet for our younger village members ages 5 to 14 years old.”
“The challenges associated with growth and advancement for elementary students and young adults can be overwhelming,” Williams said. “Studies have proven that journaling daily can be highly beneficial in the development of scholars.”
Latesa Williamson, the Dayton poet and performer known as A Slate, said that has been true in her life as well as the students she instructs through The WRITElife Village, her program to empower Dayton Public Schools students through reading and writing poetry.
Williamson said she hopes to eventually get journals in the hands of every third- and fourth-grader in Dayton Public Schools.
“It takes one sentence of encouragement, a signature, the declaration, each can create their very own spirit journal,” she said. “The beginning of their book.”