Providing a safe space for young artists and writers to explore the complexities and challenges of life

About the Project

VOX is metro Atlanta’s home for uncensored teen publishing and self-expression. We connect metro Atlanta teens to resources for building their confidence, increasing their capacity to meet life’s demands and ensuring their future success. 

Created by a VOX alumna, Atlanta Word Works (AWW) is a program at VOX that supports, guides and provides a safe space for young artists and writers to explore the complexities and challenges of life through oral literacy, workshops and performance. AWW is a unique resource that exists outside of traditional education. Teens are not receiving a grade, but are instead learning how to tell their stories. The program focuses on relationships and skill-building to ensure that teens are prepared, connected and valued. An AWW alum had this to say: “Without [AWW], I'm not sure if I would even be creating art or documentary films. The form of teaching and learning that exists within this organization and safe space is something entirely new and powerful, which I've certainly never seen within the confines of the modern education system.”

AWW provides a safe space for teens to create and share their art. We hear from teens that there are not many spaces where they can be raw and honest, without fear of judgment. AWW creates an environment where teens can heal through the power of poetry. Social justice was one of the program's founding principles and we see the power of the arts to serve as a springboard for action and advocacy as teens are given the opportunity to express themselves and engage in conversation around critical issues. AWW also supports teens in building 21st century skills and preparing for life after high school. The arts are vital to teens developing as thinkers and leaders, as they build critical-thinking skills and the ability to communicate their unique perspective. 

Over the next several months, Atlanta Word Works will offer the following free creative activities for teens to express themselves effectively and communicate with their peers about the issues that matter most:

Bi-Weekly Writing Workshops: These twice-monthly workshops explore themes such as arts and activism, politics and gender issues and are designed to prepare young people to become artists for social change. Teens are supported by teaching artists in developing content.

Quarterly Open Mic Series: Free teen open mics for the metro Atlanta area

Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate Competition: VOX will lead the process to determine the fourth annual Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate. This national program includes a book deal for the winner.

Annual Youth Poetry Slam Series: Our youth poetry slam will select the team to represent Atlanta at the Brave New Voices international youth poetry festival in July 2018. The preliminary round will be held in March, with finals held in April at our VOX-a-palooza event.

Digital & Print Publishing: At the foundation of all our programming is publishing – our teens create content so they can share what they learn with their peers in the community. Each year, we publish three print newspapers and distribute 29,750 copies to 292 schools and youth-serving organizations in metro Atlanta. Each edition includes our teens’ original poetry. Our teens also publish 5-6 times a week on VOXATL.com and many of them share their poetry and spoken word pieces through written and video content. 

Funding will go to support programming specifically in the City of Atlanta. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar by the City of Atlanta and will go directly to cover these costs:
-Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate Program: $1,000
-MARTA fare for teens to get to and from workshops and special events: $500
-Healthy snacks and meals for programs: $500
-Program supplies: $500
-Supplies for special events: $750
-Teen leadership stipends: $750
-Staff time to execute all activities: $3,500
-Stipend for Brave New Voices coach: $2,500

Thank you to all of our donors and the City of Atlanta for your support of Atlanta Word Works and our work to support young artists and writers.


Matching Sponsors

Our generous sponsors will contribute $1 for every $1 donated to this project up to $5,000 ! (pending matching fund availability)

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