Jax Poetry Fest is an annual event produced by the North Florida nonprofit, Hope at Hand.
Every April, in celebration of National Poetry Month, JPF works to inspire community-based poetry projects and spark a love for language and creative expression in North Florida. Designed to engage the community, the poetry programming of Hope at Hand is a unique arts and culture experience for Duval County. During Jax Poetry Fest, spoken word performances, poetry slams, youth poetry contests, and and a variety of workshops are offered at no cost to the public. Funding from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, City of Jacksonville and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs allow North Florida to get involved with poetry. Let this experience ignite your poetry passion as we celebrate the power of expression!
ABOUT HOPE AT HAND
Hope At Hand is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides art and poetry sessions to vulnerable and at-risk youth populations. Using poetry, creativity, art and therapeutic approaches, we facilitate healing and personal growth for children and adolescents.
Being a teen is difficult! Being a successful, productive teen is daunting! Many of the youth we work with are unsuccessful in their daily attempts to ease into adulthood. By anchoring our poetry lessons around confidence, self-esteem, choice and change our at-risk youth populations have the space to consider hopes and dreams.
With poetry as the foundation for all programming, Hope at Hand provides youth with strategies to support them as they overcome barriers to their successful participation in society. Lessons are carefully designed to engage hard-to-reach youth authentically, blending honest reflection and visions of change through poetry. Programming focuses on independent wellness strategies that youth can use to strengthen their own self-esteem beyond the scope of the actual lesson. All sessions include opportunities to immerse youth in joy and success, since many of them are rarely involved in ongoing positive experiences…and it all begins with poetry.
Offer experiences that focus on the sustaining merits of language & poetry
Teach youth to actively respond to language & poetry while connecting with their actions, feelings & emotions
Increase community building through self-awareness, confidence & self-esteem
Connect with youth who don’t readily trust adults.
Positive relationships between a caring adult & at-risk youth have powerful effects & documented benefits in a variety of personal, academic and professional factors. Hope at Hand connects with youth in stagnant environments to create a safe space for them to process feelings and reactions, while considering the concepts of choice and change. Using poetry, we analyze and search for alternatives to combat reactive patterns of behavior in the most challenging of situations.
Increase arts opportunities for youth in low income areas
Studies show that students in low socioeconomic residential areas who are engaged in a high level of arts enrichment are more likely to attend some college. Hope at Hand provides poetry lessons as outreach programming for youth who are unable to leave a residential facility and in-house for those who can access transportation.
Encourage positive attitude through poetry & problem solving through creative thinking.
Traditional educational evaluations (national, state, local) do not assess creativity. Educators in all subjects/grade levels devote teaching time to tested curriculum objectives. Hope at Hand accesses students’ natural curiosity and creativity to address difficult life experiences or actions, providing a space to process, let go and move toward healthy thinking and choices.
Increase community building through soft-skills development
Life skills such as active listening, written and oral communication, self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem are an essential component of teaching the whole person and ensuring successful long-term outcomes. Observations from employers consistently state that youth are lacking in “soft skills”. Hope at Hand's instructional method embeds into all its lessons concepts such as teamwork, communication, cultural awareness and diversity.
Pictured above: Images from Hope at Hand sessions. Pictures posted with approval.