From left: Malek Hawkins, Denisse Cotto, and Destiny Campbell with Caroline Kennedy at the DreamYard Art Center.
In a neighborhood known for powerlessness and despair, some fierce young poets—with a major assist from Caroline Kennedy
—are finding their voices.
During an era of brutal budget cuts, the largely grant-funded DreamYard Project
provides arts education by sending actors, dancers, painters, and poets into sorely underfunded Bronx public schools for year-long residencies.
For local kids yearning to rhyme and write, the DreamYard art center is a place where they can harness their inner demons and better angels through poetry workshops and regular open mikes that transform the timid into truth tellers.
In her capacity as vice chair of New York City's Fund for Public Schools, Caroline Kennedy learned about DreamYard and quickly became hooked. In addition to helping raise almost a million dollars in grant money for the program, she also visits the art center regularly, assisting kids with their poems and attending open mikes.
According to one student, "Poetry is a way to let out every emotion that you have when you feel like you don't have anyone to talk to, or you just feel locked in. Just write it down and your paper and pen become your best friend."
"Wanting to express yourself is really the heart of education," Kennedy says. "So working with DreamYard is a nice way for me to take that interest and focus my work with the schools in a more personal way."
Learn More: Caroline Kennedy's work at DreamYard
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