Jai'Nya summer 2020.jpg

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. 

Second Chances 

by Fabiola Matumaine

peer edited by Payal Subba













Fabiola is a Junior at Aiken High School

Second Chances

We can begin again.

We can start over.

We can take a second chance.


Starting over is like:

  • Rebuilding life from scratch.

  • Deciding what to do next.

  • Making new memories.

  • Reflecting on what and where we went wrong.


We all want Freedom.

Freedom is:

  • Wings molded for flight.

  • Oxygen of the soul.

  • Key to shackles and molten bondage.


We can begin again.

We can start over.

We can take a second chance.


The women in this mural remind me of:

  • Sheila Donaldson John: reminds me of determination.

  • De Anna Hoskins: reminds me of empowerment.

  • Tracy Brumfield: reminds me of resilience.

  • Belinda Coulter-Davis: reminds me of hope.

  • Tyra Patterson: reminds me of inspiration.


One time, I was given the chance to start over.  It felt like:

  • Finally being visible when even in the light, I was next to invisible.

  • A drizzle in a hurricane.

  • An entrance manifested by an exit.


We can begin again.

We can start over.

We can take a second chance.


Being welcomed home sounds like…

  • A voice in the utter humdrum.

  • Laughter on serene pupils.

  • “Fizz. Fizz” Of the iron pan.

  • And all the rambling of comfort set to come.


Fighting for justice in the community feels like:

  • Running up hill when gravity is pulling you down.

  • Living a righteous life.

  • Finally finding the key to the locked door of opportunity.

We can begin again.

We can start over.

We can take a second chance.

With four languages already under her belt, Fabiola is currently adding English to her long list of accomplishments. A Junior in Aiken High School's English as a Second Language program and WordPlay writer since her arrival in the US just over a year ago, Fabiola was selected as a youth apprentice to paint two ArtWorks murals this past summer.  

Fabiola was also chosen to write a poem in response to ArtWork's latest mural, Time Saved vs. Time Served. Her reflections on the mural’s theme, second chances, not only speak to the resilience and leadership of the women depicted in the mural, but to her own second chance in life, recently resettling in the United States. Fabiola knows that she has the power to write her future, and we applaud her immense fortitude, creativity and determination in making her dreams a reality.  


Equity through the
power of story, connection 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.