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Youth Speaks


Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Youth Speaks has long championed a local, national, and increasingly global movement of young people picking up pens and stepping proudly onto stages, declaring themselves present.

We believe that literacy is a need, not a want.

One of the world’s leading presenters of Spoken Word performance, education, and youth development programs, Youth Speaks produces local and national youth poetry slams, festivals, and reading series, alongside a comprehensive slate of arts-in-education programs during the school day, in the after-school hours and on weekends. In addition, we create internationally-recognized theater and digital programming, and have helped launch a national network of over 70 programs who believe in the power of young people.

We do serve many students who speak English as a second language, however all of our programs are facilitated in English and our Poet Mentors aren't specifically trained to support ESL students.

Our programs serve and welcome youth with a range of learning abilities and some of the youth we serve have IEPs. However, our staff are not specifically trained as special educators. They will do their best to accommodate their needs, but may not be trained to manage the requirements of every child.


Susie Lundy
Bay Area Program Director