Terry M. Blackhawk, Ph.D
Founder & Executive Director
Citywide Poets Coordinator
Special Projects Coordinator
Board of Directors
Children Matter Forever
InsideOut Board President
"Having the opportunity to reflect back on both my early and more recent years, I have grown to better understand, respect, appreciate and value the need to give voice to our youth. Through InsideOut, using the written and spoken word, our youth are able to expand their opportunities to positively impact their future and the world in which they live."
Detroit Public Schools Principal (retired)
InsideOut Board Vice-President
Director of Comm. Relations
Wayne State University
InsideOut Board Treasurer
MSU Community Music School
"My passion is for equity and accessibility in arts education. I believe that having access to creative writing and the arts is critical to healthy human development. The voices that we hear through the students and writers-in-residence are powerful. It is a privilege to serve on the Board of IO."
Senior Manager, Business Intelligence Competency Center
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC
"My involvement with InsideOut began when my employer, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, asked me to help IO develop a long-term financial plan. As I learned how IO transforms a child’s educational experience, strengthening them both academically and emotionally through the creative process of poetry writing, I wanted to do more and more to help the organization. After leading the process to update the organization’s strategy and kick off the implementation, I joined the board to help expand the reach to ever more children. I truly believe the work that IO is doing with Detroit school children is helping to establish a successful future for each child and for our city."
"As a journalist, I sat in a Detroit middle school and watched an angry kid with a nicked eyebrow write a vulnerable poem about being an egg: hard on the outside, soft on the inside. The day he turned in that poem, he was going to be expelled. The principal read it, and decided to let him stay. That's the difference InsideOut Literary Arts made in just one child's life.
There are many similar children in the Detroit Public Schools who are so at-risk for success, that only a poem can save them. They are eager to be heard. They want to fall in love with language. They want to explore the magic in their everyday lives. They want to perpetrate verses upon the world. InsideOut is the channel for them to lift themselves above the ordinary and connect with the extraordinary power within. InsideOut is a gift to Detroit's children, to the community, and to the world."
Farmington Area Association of Retired School Personnel
"Being one of the last auditorium teachers in the Detroit Public Schools, I have always held the performing arts close to my heart. For many years, I have watched young people find their voices by participating with InsideOut. Their performances have been touching and inspirational. I decided, therefore, to join the IO Board of Directors continuing the family support of InsideOut in memory of my late husband, Sterling Jones, who supported Terry's dream during the early years."
The Hon. Denise Page Hood
Judge, United States District Court
Eastern District of Michigan
Manager of Development and Community Relations
Community Network Services, Inc.
"I am pleased to serve on the InsideOut Board of Directors because I witnessed the program’s profound effects on my own children as well as others in their Detroit public elementary school several years ago. The experience of reaching deep down inside to express feelings and insights provided children at the Detroit Open School an important emotional outlet. Validation through publication and performance of their work offered vital support for their emerging voices. It is hugely gratifying to see those young poets grow up into self-assured adults. What happens in InsideOut classrooms is transformative and lasts a lifetime."
DPS Teacher (retired)
"My experience and involvement with IO began as a classroom teacher. I learned to love poetry again. It had been dormant in me for several years as I encouraged my husband and my students but never thought it was something I should do as well. What really awakened me was not only the writers-in-residence and the visiting authors who came into my classroom year after year, but those of spoken word poets such as Blair and Jamaal May. My students and I were in awe. As a result, they produced such unimaginable work. I was always thrilled with the final copy of 'Style" magazine and pleased with the support of my administration. This role as a IO board member is one of natural transition for me."
April Royster, CPA
Manager Audit Service
"I was introduced to InsideOut through other board members. The more I have learned about the mission and activities of this organization, the more proud I am to serve. While I am not a writer but an accountant by profession, I hope that my contributions will help to continue the success of InsideOut."
I.U.O.E. Local 547 (retired)
"I come to InsideOut from a different place then many. From a skilled trades and union background I focused my career on analytical and big picture activities. I bring that pragmatic problem solving background to the Board. But the real reason I am involved is you can't help but be moved by the change that occurs for students as they write of their experiences and vision of their worlds. Poetry brings the opportunity to express, and to come to terms with the challenges in their lives, their often struggling schools, and their communities. I have become convinced that change is incremental—it happens in small ways, literally from the inside out."
"I joined the Board because I believed strongly in the founding principles of IO and wanted to make a difference in assisting IO achieve its long term goals."