Strengthening Families Program Funds Poetry & Screenwriting Classes for Youth

October 27, 2022
Students writing in the park

As part of DCYF’s commitment to providing therapeutic and trauma-informed environments for youth in the agency’s care, Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) has launched exciting collaborations and partnerships to bring creativity, resilience, and healing to young people at Echo Glen Children’s Center. For the 2022-23 school year, DCYF is partnering with Pongo Poetry Project, First Sight Productions (FSP), DCYF’s Strengthening Families Washington, and Echo Glen School to provide therapeutic poetry writing workshops and filmmaking to students at Echo Glen.

FSP has been creating emotionally powerful content for organizations since 2004. The short film “In Between” is a strong example of FSP’s previous work. Lindy Boustedt, the owner of FSP, teaches screenwriting at Echo Glen through her organization SHARE (Screenwriting for Healing, Self-Actualization, Redemption, and Empathy). Soon, FSP will produce a short film showcasing Echo Glen students sharing their experience of what it means to be resilient. 

Pongo Poetry Project engages youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. Pongo was founded on the knowledge that poetry writing offers a unique vessel for healing from devastating trauma. At the heart of this program is the Pongo Method, an evidence-based, trauma-informed technique for teaching poetry, created in collaboration with prominent community psychiatrists from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Toward the end of the program year, Pongo will collaborate with Echo Glen youth to create an anthology showcasing their poetry.

These programs are possible through funding from Strengthening Families. The Pongo anthology will tie directly to this partnership by highlighting the Strengthening Families protective factors framework, including parental resilience and children’s social and emotional competence. In that light, the anthology will serve two critical functions; 1) educate parents and families on how to promote healthy outcomes for children; and 2) showcase the honesty, creativity, and resilience of young Echo Glen writers.