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Pongo Publishing

Words can heal. Teen Writing Project is proof. In 2008, this nonprofit that supports self expression through creative writing offered poetry instruction to more than 550 kids in juvenile detention, foster care and medical care. Many of the young authors are victims of child abuse or neglect. Their pensive personal words channel love, anger and hope.

"I think (poetry) is a good technique to help you open up more to things you are feeling bottled inside you," said one teen author. Pongo Publishing Pongo presents a series of workshops that culminates with student readings. Pongo volunteers also compile chapbooks of youth poetry, which they sell at the Folklife and Bumbershoot festivals.

"Pongo helps our juvenile detention youth to find their unique voice, to bring their stories out of the shadows and into the light of day," said Karen Kinch, volunteer coordinator at the King County Juvenile Detention Center. "The process sends a powerful, hope-filled message to these young people that their lives are important and that what they think, believe, feel and say matters."