Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS)
In 2009, Sierra Health Foundation awarded a grant to San Francisco-based Youth Speaks, Inc., a national youth development nonprofit that focuses its programming on poetry, spoken word and performance. The purpose of the grant was to engage area students and teachers in transforming their educational environment into a youth-centered, youth-focused platform through spoken word. Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) became operational in January 2009 with the leadership of Dr. Vajra Watson, director of research and policy for equity at the UC Davis School of Education's CRESS Center.
SAYS fosters creative approaches to literary arts education and literacy development through university school partnerships. To accomplish this, SAYS creates platforms for youth voice, student engagement and teacher professional development, both within and beyond the walls of school. Each year since 2009, SAYS has held a Summit and Poetry Slam with student writing workshops and professional development for teachers.
Photo: A SAYS poet performs at Sierra Health Foundation's 2010 Regional Youth Development Conference at Sacramento State University.