WordPlay Cincy:

Where stories write the future.

WordPlay was founded in 2012 to give young people a safe, inclusive and inspiring place to come together, uncover and share personal narratives, and determine how their creativity and voices contribute to a more just and equitable community. 


   Writing by Jai'Nya Chinn and Kayla Alexander










How can you say “All Lives Matter” when Black lives don’t? We NEVER said only black lives matter. Black people have helped build this country just to be treated inhumanely. We cooperate, we die. We run, we die. We fight back, we die. We beg, we die. We lie down, we die. We put our hands up, we die. We mind our business, we die. We’re unarmed, we die. We’re detained, we die. Tell us, what are we supposed to do, to stay alive?

Let me give you a scenario.

If your friend is cut, are you gonna wait to give all your friends a bandaid first because all arms matter? No, you’re gonna help that friend because they are in pain because they are bleeding. If someone’s house is on fire while they are stuck inside, are you gonna make the fire department go to every other house on the block first because all houses matter? No, you aren’t because you don’t need it. White people are privileged whether they like it or not. Yes, your life can be hard and you can struggle but it will never be because of the color of your skin. You won’t ever have to look over your shoulder because of the color of your skin. You don’t have to worry about simply surviving because of the skin you were born with. But black people do! Why is it okay that we are called thugs for protesting the murder of innocent people? You don’t understand the hurt that we feel when we see someone lose their loved one because of their skin color, someone that is our color, and looks like us. And white people say “But I’m not racist” when you should be saying that you are against racism. Why do you feel the need to defend yourself and comment on things that weren’t directed at you? Is it because you feel guilty or exposed? Are you thinking racist thoughts when you’re alone at night? Is that why you feel the need to defend yourself when it’s not about you? This is a war. This is a movement. This is a revolution. All races vs Racists. If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressors. If you are silent it is because you do not care because you feel it doesn’t affect you which is part of the problem. You saw what everyone saw. George Floyd called out for his mama, who died 2 years before him on that exact same day. Handcuffed. Facedown. Knee on his neck. They did nothing. He begged for water. He begged for air. He begged for his life. He begged for mercy. They did nothing. His nose bled. His body trembled. He lost control of his bladder. They did nothing. He cried out “I can’t breathe” again and again. They did nothing. One last time he gasped “I CAN’T BREATHE”. They did nothing. He lost consciousness. They did nothing. A firefighter demanded they check his pulse. They did nothing. Off duty medical personnel begged them to stop. They did nothing. Deprived of oxygen. His organs screamed. His brain frantic. They did NOTHING. They watched George Floyd die. His life fading. A slow death. They did nothing. A lynching on the ground. They did nothing. For eight minutes of agony, four officers watched. He cried out for his mama. A grown man. Crying out for the woman who gave him life. As he joined her in death. And still, they did nothing. The officers deserve to be brought to justice. They deserve to rot in jail. Black is human too, remember that when you say “All lives matter”. 


Equity through the
power of story, connection, opportunity and self-determination
Social Divides

Our communities today are divided by racial, cultural 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. Systemic inequities permeate all sectors of our city, perpetuating segregation, generational marginalization and vast disparities in wellbeing from neighborhood to neighborhood. For young people—and our communities— 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. For school-age young people, 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 mis-termed "achievement gap" between lower- and higher-income students is due to lack of access to learning opportunities over the summer. To begin to level out this opportunity gap, young people need access not only in the summer, but year-round, to learning and enrichment opportunities that serve as a conduit for self-determination. 


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


WordPlay is a grassroots-founded nonprofit organization committed to activating the strengths of children and teens in a safe, inclusive and inspiring place. We infuse arts-in-healing practices in our writing, storytelling and performance programs where young people learn in community, uncover personal narratives and have their voices be heard and valued.

Through multi-disciplinary workshops, integrated arts programs in schools and partnerships with community organizations, we provide a platform for self-determination through story, where young people claim power over who they are, what they are capable of, and how they want to show up in their communities.



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.


to help local kids and teens fulfill their potential through reading, writing and storytelling.

SINCE 2012:


children & teens (ages 5 to 18) have been reached by WordPlay programs


volunteers have been trained


books have been

given to

children & teens

WordPlay continues to grow each year because of people like you.



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WordPlay Cincy

4234 Hamilton Ave.

Cincinnati, OH 45223




4234 Hamilton Avenue

Cincinnati, OH 45223

p: 513-996-0010

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WordPlay Cincy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.