iO is a nationally recognized hub of creativity for K-12 students in Detroit who are curious about exploring their worlds through the power of poetry. Since 1995, iO has helped to amplify the voices of thousands of students by dispatching established and emerging poets and writers into classrooms. The writers conduct creative workshops and work side-by-side with students over the course of the year, helping them to create poems, stories, artwork and stage-ready performance pieces. Students contribute to their school’s literary journal, which is published and presented by iO at the end of each year during in-school galas.
In 2009, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities tapped iO as one of the country’s top youth arts programs with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. What began as a tiny idea in the heart of one teacher, founder Dr. Terry Blackhawk, continues to blossom into a grand example of the literary arts helping students leap over academic obstacles to express themselves as leaders now. You may view iO’s 990 here.
MISSION & VISION
By immersing students in the joy and power of poetry and literary self-expression, InsideOut inspires them to think broadly, create bravely and share their voices with the wider world. Guided by professional writers and celebrated by publications and performances, youth learn that their stories and ideas matter and that their pens can launch them off the page into extraordinary lives.
Experiencing the passion and transforming power of the written word will become an essential part of every child’s education.
InsideOut places great emphasis on assessment. It’s how we know that our work delivers results for students. IO evaluates each project by monitoring and observing writers, surveying teachers mid-year, collecting teaching journals from writers and assessing the quality of writing in the school’s publication. Since 2005, evaluations have consistently demonstrated the effectiveness of IO’s programs.
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Core beliefs and convictions:
- The teaching of self-expression through poetry empowers and transforms people’s lives.
- Creativity exists in every individual and every individual’s story deserves to be told.
- Nurturing an individual’s creativity benefits society as a whole.
- Exposure to poetry and creative writing inspires broader intellectual curiosity.
- Every student is worthy of experiencing self-expression through the literary arts.
- Participation in the literary arts gives students a voice that transcends geographic and socioeconomic barriers.
- When students’ creativity is publicly celebrated, their self-esteem and confidence are greatly enhanced.
- Participation in a writing class helps students learn to know and appreciate one another’s differences and similarities.
Within the classroom,
- Enjoy the power of reading and writing
- Learn basic literacy skills
- Enhance critical and analytical abilities
- Exercise their creativity, imagination, and originality
- Engage in an individual dialogue with the writer-in-residence
- Become active members of a community of writers
- Revise and edit their stories and poems in preparation for publication
- Evaluate and celebrate their accomplishments over the course of the yearlong residency
Through this program,
- Expand their approaches to teaching writing through observing and participating in InsideOut classroom activities
- Gain confidence as writers themselves
- Gain personal understanding of the subtleties of writing and being a sponsoring teacher through Teacher Writing Workshops
- Form strong ties to like-minded teachers to provide support and share discoveries