Barbara's Introductory Message


I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as Interim Executive Director of Pongo. Thanks to Richard Gold, Pongo’s founder and leader for 25 years, I am joining an organization with a clear and established mission and a well-documented methodology. Most importantly, as evaluation and research have shown, Pongo is a highly impactful program with demonstrated success in helping young people who have experienced trauma heal through writing poetry.

As someone who has experienced trauma first-hand, Pongo’s mission is close to my heart. Sadly, the relevance of Pongo’s work never flags. Most of the people Pongo serves are youth of color, and the trauma inflicted on them by a culture of white supremacy has become blatantly apparent to more people in recent months. Pongo offers a way to help people heal from that trauma. It is my hope that in partnering with other organizations we will also help address the institutional racism that causes that trauma. Following the board's suggestion and staff interest, we are in the process of launching a subcommittee on Race and Social Justice issues so we can continue to reflect on and implement this important aspect of our mission .

Although following a founding Executive Director such as Richard can be a daunting task, I am excited to engage in the challenge. Richard excelled at creating and implementing a unique method of healing from trauma. I will use my expertise to help create the systems that will allow Pongo to grow and thrive.

In the fall of 2019, the board and staff developed a strategic plan with a bold vision and goals. Among them is to scale the Pongo model to a national reach. In order to do so, Pongo must become a sustainable organization with systems in place to support its growth. Until recently, Pongo had no paid staff, and minimal expenses. Now, with three staff members (and dozens of volunteers) working toward that vision, Pongo invites you to help continue and expand our ground-breaking work.

One tangible way you can ensure the future of Pongo while simultaneously recognizing Richard for his incredible work is to donate to the Richard Gold Visionary Fund. Stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me at with any questions or comments. I look forward to becoming part of this amazing community.
Barbara Green
Interim Executive Director