Our History

TYD Foundation’s Beginnings

The Thank You Darlin’ Foundation (TYD) was founded in Chicago, Illinois on July 2, 2004 by Carolyn West.  On November 4, 2004, the IRS classified TYD a public charity with 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status. The unique name of the organization was inspired by the founder’s late mother who always expressed her sincere gratitude by saying, “thank you darling”.  From its inception, the goal of TYD was to give the everlasting gift of service to community.

Originally an endeavor to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being for women and families, the organization soon developed a more concentrated focus on the seeds of future, children.  The evolution of the organization into what it is today, was mainly inspired by the collision of two narratives: (1) The overwhelming need for effective and innovative strategies to combat the staggering literacy deficits in urban, minority and impoverished communities, and (2) The increasingly popular phenomena of citywide and national poetry slam competitions which began to illuminate the voices of students in an entirely unique way. In Chicago, both of these factors were salient.  As some students struggled to meet the demands of curriculum, others performed in sold-out theatres commanding language and challenging ideologies.  One of those performing students was the founder’s daughter who later went on to receive a master’s degree in education.

Literacy and Complex Thinking

Understanding literacy as more than simply reading and writing, TYD sought to tackle this need through written and performance poetry.  In order for students to read, write and speak effectively, they must also be taught to think creatively – to interpret, identify, convey, distinguish, challenge and create ideas. Poetry is an ideal tool to promote this type of complex thinking.

TYD’s Evolution

TYD expanded operations to Fort Worth, Texas on December 15, 2004. By March 2006, their poetry program was launched through collaborative efforts with Summerglen Library and Keller Independent School District’s Fossil Hill Middle School.  Subsequent collaborations with the Fort Worth Independent School District and 21st Century primed TYD to impact the lives of hundreds of K-12 students on a daily basis. During National Poetry Month on April 27, 2006 they produced their first annual youth poetry slam.  Currently, upwards of 15 primary and secondary schools participate in their annual poetry slams.

Awards, Anthology and The Future

TYD’s poetry curriculum was noted for Best Practices in a 2007-2008 evaluation report prepared by Texas A & M University evaluators.  In 2012, TYD became the first recipient of the Fort Worth Independent School District’s After School Program Outstanding Service Provider Award.  In March 2017, TYD published its eighth youth Anthology of children’s original poems.


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