WordPlay students to serve as delegates for International Congress of Youth Voices

WordPlay delegates Azaria Pittman-Carter and Daphne Constantinides

WordPlay Cincy is proud to announce its participation in the first International Congress of Youth Voices, a young writers’ conference taking place Aug. 3-5, 2018 in San Francisco, Ca.

As a partner organization for the three-day event, WordPlay was invited to send two young writers and two chaperones to participate in workshops on a variety of topics, including spoken word, playwriting and different forms of activism. Attendees will also sit in on lectures by guest speakers ranging from professional writers to elected leaders. Azaria Pittman-Carter and Daphne Constantinides were ultimately chosen to represent WordPlay; they will join nearly 100 other youth delegates from around the world.

“I think the fact that I’m going on this trip hasn’t hit me yet. I still can’t believe it,” Constantinides said.

Constantinides is a graduating senior from Wyoming High School and a three-year member of WordPlay’s teen poetry troupe, Scribes. Pittman-Carter first joined WordPlay three years ago as a student at Aiken New Tech High School; now finishing her first year at the University of Cincinnati, she spent the past year working as WordPlay’s program assistant.

“I’m so thankful to WordPlay for this amazing opportunity. This whole thing has kind of felt like it has come full circle, and I’m so excited for what’s to come,” Constantinides said.

The International Congress of Youth Voices presents an exciting opportunity for WordPlay students to learn, share and connect with other young writers from around the world. According to the event’s website, fifteen countries will be represented; to date, they have youth delegates coming from Iraq, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Syria, Ireland, Australia, Iceland, Burundi, Honduras, Cuba, Denmark, Venezuela, Zambia, and Nepal, as well as the United States.

According to requirements outlined by the International Congress of Youth Voices, attending students must be 16-20 years old and represent an organization’s “most passionate and eloquent young voices,” whose work is “exemplary.” Among WordPlay students, the decision was tough.

“Selecting which of our young writers would attend was no easy task, as we work with over 200 teens every week across all of our programs, and all of our kids are highly valued,” said Libby Hunter, executive director of WordPlay. “In the end, our main criteria were the student's history with WordPlay and their interest in using writing, public speaking and advocacy in their future careers. We also looked at students who would ‘age out’ next year and be unable to attend.”

The event is sponsored by The Hawkins Project, a nonprofit organization created by affiliates of 826 National, a nonprofit network of writing centers across the country: Dave Eggers, author and co-founder of 826 National, and Amanda Uhle, former executive director of 826 Michigan. The Hawkins Project will cover the cost of accommodations and workshops for WordPlay’s four participants, while local Cincinnati nonprofit, Charitable Words, will help cover the cost of airfare.

“We are incredibly honored to be invited to this inaugural year of the International Congress of Youth Voices, and hope to be invited back next year so we can bring two more talented young writers,” Hunter said.

For more information about the International Congress of Youth Voices, visit www.internationalcongressofyouthvoices.com. You can also click here to read the youth delegate profile for Daphne Constantinides or click here to read the delegate profile for Azaria Pittman-Carter.

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