In the U.S., April is National Poetry Month, started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. Their goal: “To increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture.” This year, She’s the First wanted to be the first to make this occasion an international experience. Our goal: Sponsor a girl in Sudan, and connect young women worldwide in the process.
It all started when Cynthia Hellen, STF Board Member & GIRLS WHO ROCK co-founder urged us to enter the 2011 Heart and Soul Grant Award Program — all we had to do was enter an 8-line poem expressing our mission. The prize: $10,000 for our cause, which we’d use to sponsor girls in our Directory. We enlisted one of the most talented writers on our team, Researcher/Blogger Hannah Brencher (hannahkaty.com), to compose our entry. These are two of her verses that moved us:
Because of someone I have never met
I now have the chance
To read and write my life out loud
And teach my dreams to dance
This is my chance to go to school
My chance to help and fix what’s broken
My chance to be the first of many girls
to make her voice outspoken
After reading this, we thought, why not make poetry a campaign to connect cultures across our network and sponsor a girl? The She’s the First #STFPoem Campaign was born. We’ve asked Hannah to “emcee” the campaign, blogging through the month for shesthefirst.org and rallying the social media and blogging community to join us.
Here’s the game plan:
Week of April 4: Publish poetry from the She’s the First “global girls” — from our partner programs in the Directory — as well as by our Emcee Hannah, along with favorite pieces by the great poets that inspire our work for girls worldwide. (Submit yours!)
Week of April 11th: Compose a unique poem through Tweets! More details to come, but make sure you’re following @shesthefirst for announcements, and use hash tag #stfpoetry.
April 19: A workshop in a Brooklyn high school, led by Oprah-approved poet Azure Antoinette. (We found each other on Twitter!) More exciting details to come!
April 20-April 30: The creation & sale of poetry e-cards to commemorate spring holidays (Easter, Passover, Administrative Professionals Day…) which we’ll design with verses collected through this month of poetry with our girls and supporters worldwide. The e-cards will be sold on shesthefirst.org for $4 each via PayPal, and our goal is to sponsor a year of education for a girl in Sudan, which is $365. If we sell 100 e-cards, we can do it!
So, are you in? Express yourself and educate!