Pongo Project Journal

Sharing stories of our work with teens
Oct 08
To Watch Their Faces

As you know, the heart of Pongo's work with distressed youth is to listen to their voices, be present for their often painful stories, and provide structured support for their joyful poetic expression.

I'm happy to say that many of you are realizing wonderful outcomes by using the information and resources on the Pongo site. Here is a letter we recently received...


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 K.
September 30, 2013

Please check out the Teaching Resources section and Start Your Project section of the Pongo site!