On the behalf of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, I recently had the opportunity to spend time working with and writing with a wonderful group of students from high schools across the District. Students from Ellington, Wilson, Bell Multicultural and Ballou all came to 826 DC in Columbia Heights to generate poems and discuss arts education. These workshops were actually the spawning point for the recent White House Poetry Workshop and Evening of Poetry where one of our students, Tiesha Hines from Ballou, read her poem "Ten Things I Want to Throw at You" and introduced First Lady Michelle Obama.
Tiesha Hines represents the great potential of Washington, D.C.'s young writers. Unfortunately, her school lacks the necessary resources to assure that such potential is consistently developed. The Ballou library is significantly under-stocked, and without a public library in the immediate vicinity, the school library is an invaluable immediate resource.
So, a simple request: If you have books that you can spare, or if you are a writer and have copies of your own work you can sign, please consider donating and sending those books to the Ballou Senior High School:
Melissa Jackson, Librarian
Ballou Senior High School
3401 4th Street, SE
Washington, DC 20032
Tiesha Hines is the president of Ballou's poetry club, and reading poems, I'm sure many of you know, is an indispensable part of the writing process. Send what you can, but if you have poetry collections make sure to send them so students like Tiesha and other members of the poetry club have the resources all young writers need to be able to access. The Split This Rock Foundation has already donated. Please add to its generosity by looking through your personal libraries and sending what you can.
Advisory Committee, Split This Rock Poetry Festival
Founder/Editor, POST NO ILLS Magazine
Assistant Professor of Literature & Creative Writing, American University