Testimonials!

This section contains some emails from people who are using the Pongo process at their agencies and schools...

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Dear Mr. Gold and The Pongo Publishing Teen Writing Project,

I am a substitute teacher for Lewiston Independent School District No. 1 in Lewiston, Idaho. I am currently working a long-term assignment at our Region II Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). As with any JDC, our students are here for varying lengths of time, with different ages, towns, learning abilities, and offenses. Their common denominator is their "break your heart" backgrounds and the choices they have made as a result. At times it is difficult to teach a language arts lesson that is fluid and applies to all ages and keeps the students engaged. I discovered Pongo through another teaching forum and decided to give it a whirl.

I am pleased to say that it has become very popular with my students. I introduced them to your project by airing the KING5 TV segment, then read a few of your other students' poems.

To watch their faces while their poem is read aloud and to hear the group compliment one another and discuss the topics is a sight to behold. They are engaged, open to talking about their feelings, and more receptive to other language arts lessons. In this position, where success is measured by each hour of accomplishment, this has been very rewarding to the students and me.

Thank you for your project and enabling others to participate in their own way, through your great site!

Chanda Karlberg
September 30, 2013

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Dear Richard,

I live in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, where I'm the program coordinator at a Youth Centre for kids aged 12-18. It's a drop-in, and most of the youth we see are high-risk. I'm certified to teach high school English, but once I came to the centre almost 4 years ago, I knew it was where I needed to be. I began a writing group two years ago and was so happy to find your website. The prompts look so simple, and produce such profound results. They love them. Thank you!

Maureen McLaughlin
June 13, 2012

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Hi Richard,

I just wanted to thank-you again for coming to WCCW [Washington Corrections Center for Women].  Your work is amazing! I appreciate your willingness to share your gift. I have a difficult group where conflicts frequently arise.  When an argument started between two group members I pulled out the Anger Poem writing activity. The two that were arguing were able to focus on the activity instead of each other. Everyone calmed down and the group dynamics changed as everyone shared what they had wrote.  They  were able to share their anger in unique ways.  They were so  enthusiastic.  I’m so excited  about this work.  It’s very meaningful, useful and therapeutic; a powerful  and wonderful way to approach treatment….thank-you!

Sonja Stenberg
Sex Offender Treatment Program
WCCW
May 17, 2012

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Hello Richard,

It has been a while (like two years since these e-mails started..) Hope this e-mail finds you well in the PNWJ.

While I was trying to get my administration to fund a PONGO training here, I also began working on putting together a writer’s workshop in our juvenile detention center, based on the Pongo model. Well, it is happening! We have a collaboration between the local community college, the Kiwanis club, and the juvenile detention center. We have had three session so far, and the response from the youth is off the charts. The support and interest from the juvenile court and detention center admin/staff has also been very positive!

Here is the article I mentioned from the news paper in Sierra Vista. The news reporter is now going to volunteer in our detention center each month, and has obtained permission to print poetry in the ‘living’ section every month!

http://www.svherald.com/content/news/2012/04/17/259460

Thank you Pongo!!XX

I still hope to get a Pongo training set up one day. If the court/college cannot fund it, I will look into grants/private donations.

Thanks again,

Sepp Sprietsma
Cochise County Juvenile Court Services
Victim Rights Program Manager
Juvenile Programs Manager
April 18, 2012
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Richard,

.... I think the work you are doing is vital and important. Please let your students know that they have touched other impacted youth in a significant way. My students are struggling readers and writers in a low social-economic demographic. Several of my students have emotional disabilities. We struggled mightily to work through our school district's literacy curriculum, so I stopped teaching the curriculum and asked my students to read your collection of poems. They were immediately engaged and worked hard to interpret the poems.

After two months of studying Pongo poems, my students are now engaging in the regular curriculum, and their reward is that every Friday we get to read Pongo poems....

Some day in the future I may be contacting you to discuss your approach. In the meantime I wish to thank you for opening up a literary world to my students.

Sarah Geren-Ziegler
5th Grade Teacher
Lake Hills Elementary School
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