Thank You Darlin’ Foundation Returns With A Slam

First-place honors went to the team from John T. White Elementary

First-place honors went to the team from John T. White Elementary – Alana Prelow, Lanessa Davenport, La’nylah Taylor, Nashiy Price, and Exodus Jones


Voice2Youth™ Poetry Slam returned for its 14th year with students grades 3 – 6 performing original poetry.

After a two-year hiatus, the Thank You Darlin’ foundation returned to the stage with its 14th annual Voice2Youth™ Poetry Slam, with some participants shorter than the microphone.

The event, which helps promote youth literacy, saw 37 students from Fort Worth and Keller school districts participate in team and individual competitions. The children confidently took to the stage and delivered their rehearsed poems at I.M Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA, the first free public school for Black students in the city.

This year’s edition featured grades 3 – 6 as opposed to its usual grades 3 – 12. Each student that stood on stage adhered to this year’s theme: What does the word justice mean to you?

“Once they’re on the stage … the students might discover they can do what they thought was once impossible,” Carolyn West, executive director of the Thank You Darlin’ Foundation, says. “Maybe it will plant a seed in their mind the next time they think they can’t do something.”

Fifth-grader Vivian Duarte-Sandoval won first place for an individual poet

Fifth-grader Vivian Duarte-Sandoval won first place for an individual poet

First-place honors went to the team from John T. White Elementary for their poem “Who Dat John T.” The team consisted of Alana Prelow, Lanessa Davenport, La’nylah Taylor, Nashiy Price, and Exodus Jones. Fifth-grader Vivian Duarte-Sandoval won first place for an individual poet.

“At first, I was struggling with doing my own poems and didn’t have the words,” Duarte-Sandoval says. “Then, Ms. West gave me ideas. I didn’t think I would win because most of the people who I thought would win also did a really good job.”

Throughout the poetry slam, words centered around equality in race and gender with snaps echoing through the auditorium. Each student gave powerful speeches about the theme of justice, ranging from being free from homework to being free of racial injustice.

“Everywhere I looked, I saw people seated and smiles on their faces, and parents cheering on their kids,” West says. “And to the parents: Listen to the students. It took me a long time as a parent to realize how much it helps to build a child’s confidence and listen to them. It’s very important to listen to what they read in school, what they write, and what they draw.”

The Thank You Darlin’ foundation is a non-profit that supports and encourages success in children through artistic expression.

“Everyone wants to get bigger and better all the time,” executive director, Carolyn West, says. “We look to make more of an impact. When we see a kid say they hated poetry, but now they like it, or they read a book and realize they didn’t like reading before. We’ve heard everything from children saying they don’t express themselves like an exploding volcano anymore, they know how to choose their words.”


FORTWORTH Magazine Article and photo by KELSEY SHOEMAKER, April 26, 2022

Comments are closed.

TYD Facebook
Twitter
TYD YouTube
Email TYD