Pongo's Writing Mentors


Pongo's writing mentors are the most caring and intelligent people and wonderful colleagues. They are the individuals who work directly with distressed youth, to facilitate personal poetry and to serve as containers for the teens' painful stories. They have humor and big hearts. They are writers, teachers, and therapists (usually serving in two or three of these roles in the community). We call these mentors the Pongoites. Their names are listed at the bottom of this page.

And to represent this community, here are articles by and about some of them:

Ann Teplick - The Quieter We Become, The More We Are Able to Hear

Adrienne Johanson - Loss: A Shape-Shifter

Eli Hastings - Reckoning with Loss Through Writing

Vanessa Hooper - The Colors of Their Lives

Shaun McMichael - Riding in My Own Canoe to Find a Dream

Mike Hickey - Mike

Alex Russell - Approaching the Trauma, Not the Crime

Pongo's project leaders over the years have included: Ann Teplick, Amani Carithers, Adrienne Johanson, Arlene Naganawa, Eli Hastings, Vanessa Hooper, Emily Holt, Emily Caris, Jefferson Rose, Martha Linehan, Dana Elkun, and Leslie Bourgoin.

Pongoites (Pongo volunteers), including Adrienne Johanson, Alex Leviton, Alex Russell, Alexanne Madison, Alli Smith, Amani Carithers, Ann Teplick, Anni Armas Mahoney, Arlene Naganawa, Ashley Skartvedt, Becky Sherman, Brittany Dennison, Carol Goth, Carol Thompson, Charlene Cuhaciyan, Corey Teasdell, Dana Elkun, Daniel Gotkin, Danielle Bryce, Eli Hastings, Elizabeth Koontz, Ellen Bloom, Emily Caris, Emily Happy, Emily Holt, Erin Carpenter, Erin McCormick, Fred Nollan, Frederick Bryan, Gayle Wilde, Gemlene Schaudies, Gina Bettica, Hayley Elrod, Jasleena Grewal, Jaspar Lepak, Jean Gant, Jean Lenihan, Jeanne Hopkins, Jeff Maggioli, Jeff Rose, Joanne Conger, Johan Grimsrud, Jonah Shallies, Kara Weiss, Kate O’Kelley, Katelyn Durst, Kathleen Levine, Katie Jaeger, Kevin Jones, Kiana Davis, Leslie Bourgoin, Lisa Madelle Bottomley, Lisette Austin, Lynn Zhao, Mark Johnson, Martha Linehan, Mary Coleman, Matt Atwood, Melissa McBain, Michael Ortiz, Mike Hickey, Miral Luka, Nadia Imafidon, Natalie Singer-Velush, Nathaniel Orwiler, Paul Rathgeb, Phaedra Pascoe, Raúl Sanchez, Rebecca Richards-Diop, Reggie Anthony, Ron Rivard, Ross Cole, Roxanne Hulton, Samantha Krejcik, Samantha Leeds, Sandra Scannell, Sara Jones, Shaun McMichael, Shira Hasson-Schiff, Spencer Wahlstrom, Stephanie McManus, Stephanie Ramos, Tesmer Atsbeha, Urvasi Graham, Vanessa Hooper, Victor Opalia and others who participated in our six-month training and volunteer experience at juvenile detention, CSTC, and other sites.