Writing Poems

To start the Finding Home project, we gave each of the Jr. Viewfinders their own journal. In reflecting on our programming in 2016, we felt it was necessary for the Jr. Viewfinders to have a space to reflect on their work and experiences. Additionally, we thought that it would be important for them to have a journal that they could look back to and see an archive of what they've done at Viewfinders. So, each session for this project started with a short drawing or writing prompt for them to respond to in their journals.

The first activity for this project was to write poems. We started by discussing home and the many different meanings that it has. Then, we read a poem called Home by Jennifer Burns, where she lists a whole range of things, experiences, and feelings that embody home for her. Next, we had big sheets of paper with categories written on the top: places, objects, people, memories, feelings, activities, sensations. The youth then wrote examples of each on their respective sheets of paper. Once we'd finished this activity as a group, the youth each wrote their own poems in their journals. We asked them to come up with at least ten different examples of what home was to them, and we gave them the structure of each line beginning with "Home is..." Some youth struggled with their poems, but with some one-on-one work from instructors, each youth finished a poem. And some youth had a natural instinct for poetry, which was exciting to see! Here are some examples.