Workshops around Oklahoma City metro aimed at helping students connect with teachers, one another through poetry

United Voice

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “It’ll really change your life,” said 5th grader Alysia Underwood. 

Underwood just one over 1,200 kids impacted by the program ‘PoetryAndChill.’

The non-profit started by Gregory II, who was once in Alysia’s shoes.

“It’s bridging the gap between students and teachers, and students with each other,” said Gregory. 

He and his team started PoetryAndChill as an after-school program around the metro, but after some support from one of his own 5th grade teachers, 21 years later, he now teaches students during their school days. 

“I’ve always thought that was important to have as many people love the kids as possible, and so he comes in and it fills that spot for sure,” said Tulakes Elementary 5th grade teacher, Melissa Meek. 

Their workshops align with different school curriculum, teaching things beyond poetry. 

Kids and teens work on writing, public speaking and overall life skills. 

“It stops bullying too, because we talk about bullying, we talk about communication skills and how to express how they truly feel,” said Gregory. 

It gives them a space to share some of the struggles they’ve been through, and understand what their peers have been through. 

“It gets me to like hear them more, and to know what they’ve actually been through in life and that I can finally understand if I didn’t understand them well,” said Underwood. 

Starting June 7, they’ll host some ‘PoetryAndChill Kids Workshops’ at the Tulakes Food Center. 

“What’s so exciting is to see that happening in our own community in Lyrewood, as youth are finding ways to creatively express their feelings,” said Tulakes Food Center Director, Sam O’Bannon. 

Gregory says their end goal is to make these workshops required across the state. 

“We realize that a lot of students don’t get that opportunity to talk, and just be themselves,” he said. 

He hopes that he and his team can changes the lives, of as many students as possible. 

“It was the last thing we thought they’d want to do, and they love it!” he said. 

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All students 4th through 12th grade can attend the workshop on June 7th at the Tulakes Clinic and Food Center. 

The clinic is always in need of volunteers (Specifically medical volunteers on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Sign up to volunteer here.

The food center is in need of volunteers for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday’s for unloading and distribution. Sign up to volunteer here.

United Voice mission statement: A coalition of Oklahoma’s media outlets, brought together in a united voice to promote a healthy dialogue on race.

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