By: Iesha Mitchell

I tend to think of myself as a creative and crafty person and I am someone who enjoys the simple pleasure of creating with my hands.  Whether it is crocheting a hat and scarf for a friend, drawing an animated character for a bright-eyed child, or a piece of jewelry for a long awaited birthday gift; making “things” gives me the joy of applying these skills that result in a physical manifestation of my creativity.  However, one of my sixth grade students that I work with on my focus list sparked an avenue that I had long forgotten- poetry. 

Poetry is a literary work that tends to be overlooked and underappreciated   by so many, including myself at times.  This form of literacy allows for those who compose it to express their ideas and thoughts on a subject with the prospect of expressing their emotional connection to the topic.  When working on goals with my student and the ways that I could help him improve in the area of literacy, I received the obvious answers of improving test scores and getting better at writing.  However, this particular student had an interesting way of wanting to reach these goals.  In order to grasp these goals he realized that a great deal of practice was needed, and writing poetry and narratives was the way he wanted to practice.

My first thought was “what a wonderful way to practice,” and then he clarified that I was to write along side him in order for him to get ideas and to see different styles of writing.  I was so impressed with him that I immediately agreed to it and bought the notebook that was to house our collective works.  Of course he said that I had to start it off and I was at a loss for words, literally.  I had not written poetry since my first year of high school in the poetry performing class of Mrs. McNaughton, where I decided that my talents would be of better use as a stage hand and production manager. 

I could not find the words to express myself and what it was that I wanted to say to the student, until I thought about what I am doing currently.  City Year has given me the opportunity to connect to these students in a way that allows me to see who I want to be and what I want others to see me as.  This young scholar of mine has given me the confidence to find my words and share them with you today.  



Speaking in verse
allows me to converse
with the clarity of
a crystal clear voice

Reaching the ears of
my near peers
trying to give them
wisdom beyond their years

Working with a corporation
that reaches across the nation
helping students reach the completion
of their secondary education

Listening to their struggles
changing their behavior
instilling confidence
I am working hard to make a difference

This year it’s become quite clear
that there is no need to fear
because with City Year here
success is near

I believe in you
and everything that you do
now its time for you to
speak up, speak out, and





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