WordPlay Cincy - our story continues
Dear WordPlay friends,
A teenager, recently settled in this country, shared this in one of our programs just a short time ago:
I’m from being different and setting a good example,
From newly found optimism and hope for the future.
I’m from my past, from the stories that shaped me,
I’m from my present. Here. Now.
I’m from my future, stories I’m hoping to create.
In these times of anxiety and confusion, our stories connect and unite us. Stories are how we find meaning, how we define our unique place in the world, how we understand our potential and shape our future.
As our lives shift overnight, and our very wellbeing depends on physical separation, WordPlay is giving great thought to how the organization can continue to promote creativity as a connector, uniting us through story-sharing and creative expression. Our incomparable team is creating online content, ways to keep our students engaged while reminding them of their tremendous strengths and assets that will carry them through this chapter.
While we shift to virtual ways to stay connected in the coming weeks, we are also working diligently to prepare for the day that our programs resume, readying ourselves to address the experiences and needs our children and teens will have as a result of the pandemic. Drawing from extensive experience among our staff in healing through the arts, we will be ready to embrace our community of young people with opportunities for processing experiences while doing what we do best—indulging in the sheer joy of creation and the beauty of connecting with others through learning.
I wanted to assure you that our work continues undaunted, and I welcome your thoughts and questions.
We are indeed all in this together.
Libby Hunter, Executive Director and Co-Founder, WordPlay
Certain factors in our young people's lives prevent them from reaching their full potential.
Our communities today are divided by cultural, racial and economic factors. In a local survey, young people expressed a desire to be connected to their communities while acknowledging that this is often not the case. This disconnect sows the seeds of intolerance and harms development of key social and emotional skills, including being able to communicate, learn and celebrate with others. For young people to thrive, they need safe, inclusive spaces to come together and connect.
Barriers to Learning
We all face challenges in our daily lives when stressful environmental factors build up and go unaddressed. (Think: It's difficult to read a book in a tornado.) For young people in school, any number of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can make it difficult to learn and succeed. A recent survey revealed nearly 85% of youth thought they would graduate from high school; yet 1 in 5 students surveyed did not graduate in 4 years.
Lack of Access to Opportunity
Without access, there can never be equity. More than two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income students is due to lack of access to learning opportunities over the summer. Young people need access where they are (not only in the summer, but year-round) to collaborations across arts communities, schools and research in order to create a conduit for providing life-changing opportunities.
1. & 2. It Takes a Village: Making Cincinnati a Better Place for All Youth
3. Summer Can Set Kids on the Right—or Wrong—Course
THE WORDPLAY SOLUTION
WordPlay is a grassroots-founded nonprofit organization committed to building a Cincinnati where all people are connected, compassionate and empowered to access opportunities. Our innovative programs are carefully designed to spark creativity and create self-efficacy, inspiring children and teens to become lifelong learners. These reading, writing and storytelling programs take place in our community writing center, at schools and collaboration with other organizations across the city.
HAS A STORY.
From the smallest kindergartener to the tallest teen, every student who walks through WordPlay's doors has a story to tell. We want them to know that their stories are worth telling.
children & teens (ages 5 to 18) have been reached by WordPlay programs
volunteers have been trained
books have been
children & teens