Written by Oscar Martinez and Hayley Simon on the Julia A. Uihlein team at Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School.

Picture is of a poem sumbitted by one of the students.

On October 26th, the Julia A. Uihlein team at Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School (AMIAS) put on our first event of the year – Poetas de Mitchell Leen (or Mitchell Poets Read). The majority of students we serve at Alexander Mitchell are Latinx and we wanted our first event to be a celebration of that. What perfect timing that National Hispanic Heritage Month falls from September 15 – October 15! Our students are brilliant young people with lives full of unique experiences and our focus was to help them share their stories.

As a school, AMIAS has a heavy focus on English Language Arts (ELA) this year. Our team decided that with respect to National Hispanic Heritage Month and an ELA focus, there would be nothing better than a poetry night where our Latinx students would have the space to share their voices.

Four different committees of corps members worked to build our vision into reality: logistics were planned, the look and feel of the event was envisioned, the event was advertised, and students’ poems were collected and reviewed. Corps members even held poetry-writing workshops. The event arrived and our hard work was rewarded. A neighborhood grocery store and Alexander Mitchell staff members donated food. 162 students attended the poetry night, 20 of which submitted and shared their poems. We all gathered together to hear our students share their hearts. The City Year team at AMIAS ended the night filled with pride in our collective ability to pass the microphone to students to share their voices and inspired by the bravery and passion of the students we serve.

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