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  Urban Youth Literary Arts Program
YOUTH POETRY SUMMERCAMPS
June 20-June 24: Woodland Pattern Book Center's Urban Youth Inter-Arts Poetry Camp for D.P.I. eligible Talent Search Students, 8:30am-3:30pm (FREE)
June 27-July 1: Woodland Pattern Urban Youth Inter-Arts Poetry Camp for Milwaukee Youth grades 4-9, 8:30am-3:30pm (FREE)



The Urban Youth Literary Arts After-School Program is held 3-4:30 every Tuesday and Thursday during the school year in the Woodland Pattern Book Center's art gallery. The program is creative writing based and integrates a different art form along with writing every two months. Artforms that have been used to enhance this writing program in the past are music, improvisation and reader's theater, yoga, the visual arts, film, and more. These after-school classes are free and open to any interested Milwaukee youth in 4th or 5th grade.

For additional information on the after-school classes call the The Urban Youth Literary Arts Program, Coordinator at (414) 263-5001.



A lifetime practice of reading and writing must be cultivated from a young age. Woodland Pattern's Urban Youth Literary Arts Program is comprised of three main parts, after-school classes, in-class workshops, and summer poetry camps. This is in addition to family workshops, classes for MPS teachers, and special events. The program focuses on inner-city low-income youth ages 9-18 especially children from Woodland Pattern's Riverwest neighborhood.

The Riverwest neighborhood is located West of the Milwaukee River and North of Downtown. It is home to many artists, writers, filmmakers, LGBT community members and blue-collar workers. The per capita income is $16,963 and the median household income is $25,603. The student body make-up of the Franklin Pierce Elementary School, where the greatest amount of our students come from, is 52% Hispanic, 41% African-American, and 7% other with 35% being English language learners, and 95% qualify for free and reduced cost lunch.

The Woodland Pattern Urban Youth Literary Arts Program focuses on creative writing. Each one of our classes use writing and arts activities that benefit from a collaborative curriculum. We display the connection that writing has with the arts and not just academics. In addition every class concludes with a reading/ gallery show of the students' work and a class anthology is distributed. Past curriculum combinations have been writing and yoga, writing and computer design, writing and bookmaking, writing and music and writing and theater.

Through the program students improve their reading and writing skills, increase their knowledge of literature and art, and also heighten the frequency of which creative skills are used. This program promotes Milwaukee Public School learning targets such as improving grammar, expanding vocabulary and being able to communicate one's opinion through the written word.

With the encouragement received in class students develop confidence in their overall abilities and specifically in their abilities to produce creative writing. The student's self-esteem increases with the publication and display of their creative work.

These outcomes prepare our students for more successful lives. Indicators such as the quality of the writing produced during the program and performed at cumulative poetry performances, the use of vocabulary, growth in understanding of grammar, and self-esteem are observed.

In 2006 student participation in Woodland Pattern youth programs grew by 42%, (291 participants in 2006). Also, The Urban Youth Literary Arts Program was supported by many neighborhood organizations and artists. Representatives from Modjeska Theatre Company, Pink Drill Press, MMK Designs, Riverwest Yogashala, Milwaukee Public Theatre, One Drum, and Riverwest Film and Video participated in the program. In addition, work produced by Woodland Pattern's students has been displayed at The Betty Brinn Children's Museum, The Riverwest Co-Op, Take Back the Night Peace Parades, and in the Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish's Newsletter.


What students, parents, and teachers say about Woodland Pattern's Urban Youth Literary Arts Program:

I like that we got to make different things and write about what we eat.
—5th Grader, After-School Program

I liked that they helped us with our creative writing. I want to show it to the rest of the world.
—4th Grader, After-School Program

Lots of great ideas for working with children. I would recommend this teacher to my daughter, she is a teacher and I think she could get some great ideas for class projects.
—Parent, Family Bookmaking Workshop

I especially liked learning French words and doing poetry. I was never interested in poetry and now I am, thank you!
—7th Grader, Girl Scout Writing Workshop

I especially liked the variety of activities. I liked the Open Mic in class and creating one poem as a class.
—7th Grade Teacher, Milwaukee Sign Language School


The Urban Youth Literary Arts Program is funded by The Betty Brinn Foundation, CDBG, The Department of Public Instruction, The Faye McBeath Foundation, The Helen Bader Foundation, The Lucy and Jack Rosenberg Foundation, and The Ralph Evinrude Foundation.



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