The Telling Room's Young Writers and Leaders

The Telling Room's Young Writers and Leaders

The PMA is honored to host one of Portland's most recognized programs, The Telling Room's Young Writers and Leaders Narrative Reading on March 28 and March 30. We asked The Telling Room to tell us a little more about the program, which is a recent winner of a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House for exemplary arts-education programming.
The Telling Room's Young Writers & Leaders program is a free, after-school literary arts program for international multilingual high school students from Portland, South Portland, and Westbrook. The program helps improve student's writing skills, academic performance, social and emotional wellbeing, and increases their chances of future success. Students engage with many genres of writing in this intensive program; from poetry, personal narrative, fiction, journalism and documentary.
 
During the personal narrative unit, each student is paired with a writing coach from the community for three months to develop an original personal story to be professionally published by The Telling Room. These stories then come alive during a one-time live reading.
 

This event is one we wait for all year. One by one, each pairing of mentor and student take the stage. The mentor introduces the student and the highlights of their experience together. These introductions alone have been known to pull on heartstrings. Then, the student takes the microphone. More often than not, there is a magic that happens when their words and memories leap off the page, leave their mouths, and into the ears of a captive audience. There is an energy that activates that we couldn't conjure up during our rehearsals. An energy that comes from the adrenaline rush it requires for the students to be so forthcoming to a room full of loved ones and strangers. There is an energy born from the connections being made in the exchange of story. We hope you'll join us for true stories about love, loss, fear, bravery, vulnerability, and discovery from some of Portland's most critical young voices.

 

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March 24, 2017
Multilingual Programs Director at The Telling Room

Sonya Tomlinson has been teaching with The Telling Room since 2008. She is also the co-director of our Young Writers & Leaders program. Sonya holds a B.F.A. in Design from UNC-Greensboro. Before arriving at The Telling Room she was the grants manager at the Maine Women's Fund and spent nine years both on the event staff at Space Gallery and as traffic manager and contributing arts writer at the Portland Phoenix. Her heartstrings are tugged in the direction of teaching high school students self-expression through songwriting and poetry. Sonya lives in Portland with her husband, young son, and cat named Goose. She is currently studying Arabic. And yes, she is also the rapper known as Sontiago.