Pongo's Value Statement

Pongo Publishing (The Pongo Poetry Project, The Pongo Teen Writing Project) is a therapeutic poetry program, where the good we do is to help people express themselves in a healing way about difficult personal experiences. At the heart of this creative process is the Pongo mentors’ ability to listen to writers’ painful stories, hold these stories, allow our own vulnerabilities to inform us, and learn from the resilience in the writers. This trauma-informed work is our mission and core value.

Also, we often work within environments where we are exposed to significant social ills. We work with people who have suffered terribly and historically from societal and structural inequities, such as racism, mass incarceration, homelessness, poverty, homo-phobia, and the stigma associated with mental-health issues. It is clear that these inequities are the stew within which many personal traumas are cooked. It is Pongo’s value that our writers’ poetry should be an empowering response to the trauma of injustices.

The source of poetry’s power is the real connection that is created between people through the honest expression of emotion. Poetry transcends stigmas and stereotypes because it embodies feelings and resilience that are universal, empathetic, and admirable. We are advocates for the healing power of poetry. We are advocates for our authors in the community, where we publish and share their personal poetry.

Pongo has a particular area of service in our potential to heal the healer. Many people are called to the helping professions because of a need to address some difficult experience of their own. They also bear the weight of the difficulties endured by those they are trying to help. Pongo poetry can help these caring people to heal themselves.

Ultimately, it is a Pongo value to embody the good that we wish to see in the world, the mission of honoring everyone by creating a safe space for them to speak from the heart. In this way, for example, we not only create healing moments for our writers inside institutions, but we contribute to constructive dialog within the institutions themselves. Pongo represents positive outcomes, not just for our writers and ourselves, but within the places where we work and the larger community. We accept an elevated purpose for Pongo, which is to bring respect and caring into painful places and to model these attitudes as a powerful force for individual growth and social change.