Wong Wares is a business owned by local artist and Manitou Springs firefighter Mark Wong, who specializes in raku ceramics. Together, we have hosted six incredibly successful summers of “Poetry and Pottery,” in partnership with the City of Manitou Springs, the Manitou Art Center, and the city’s Chamber of Commerce. These fun weekly events are free, easily accessible to the public, and have enriched the lives of hundreds of people. To learn more about this special project, please click here.
Inside/Out Youth Services
As the sole LBGTIQ youth organization in Colorado Springs, Inside/Out provides vital support services to youth who are courageously discovering their identities in the face of tremendous pressure from heteronormative/cisgender culture. In fall 2016, Poetry Heals partnered with Inside/Out to provide a pilot program helping LGBTIQ youth to articulate and creatively express their emotions and experiences. We hope to return and provide more healing writing workshops in the near future!
Pikes Peak Library District
In conjunction with the Pikes Peak Library District, during the fall of 2016 we provided a four-session healing writing workshop for the homeless in Manitou Springs. St. Andrew’s Church kindly donated meeting space for this program. In 2019, we held evening workshops in the downtown Colorado Springs Penrose Library which ended when COVID closed the library to the public. In 2021, we began weekly, drop in workshops at the Knights of Columbus Hall next to Penrose Library. Our participants take comfort in being able to express their feelings through poetry, and pride in having their voices heard.
CACTUS at the Imagination Celebration
In January 2016, our founder Molly Wingate worked with the Warrior Recovery Center‘s CACTUS program to provide a writing workshop to veterans in the Warrior Transition Unit at Forth Carson. CACTUS is now hosted by the Imagination Celebration and Poetry Heals offers regular workshops. These heroes connected strongly with the methods of Poetry Heals’ theraputic writing techniques, writing poetry they were justly proud of.
Springs Recovery Connection
Our very first project was to work with Springs Recovery Connection so our mentors could spend time with youth in recovery on a one-on-one basis. The project lasted for six weeks during the fall of 2015, during which mentors met with clients once or twice a week. Data shows that even one such encounter has a lasting benefit for the client’s coping skills. Our thanks to SRC for letting us launch our work there, and to The Gazette for this great article about the project!
Crawford House provides temporary housing for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or are attending the Veteran Administration’s substance abuse program. Poetry Heals teaches therapeutic poetry writing workshops there in the evenings when funding allows. Veterans of all ages learn to use poetry to process their experiences and their traumas. We hear a lot of laughter by the end of the night!
Springs Rescue Mission
In collaboration with the Bemis School of Art in the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, we took Poetry and Pottery events into the rescue mission during July 2018. The response was great, with one participant exclaiming, “This brings me such peace!” As the pandemic eases, we hope to return.
TESSA offers confidential support and services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and their children. Poetry Heals workshops are offered every week for adults. We look forward to expanding to working with youth. These workshops are completely confidential.
Peak View Behavioral Hospital
Poetry Heals is one of the recreation activities for youth a Peak View Behavioral Hospital. The residents engage deeply with the writing prompts, producing remarkable poetry that contributed to their ongoing healing processes.
Pongo Poetry Project
Poetry Heals’ methodology is based on that of Pongo Poetry Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit whose mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. Pongo was founded on the knowledge that poetry writing offers a unique vessel for healing from devastating trauma. Pongo envisions a world where all youth who have experienced childhood trauma can be seen, heard, and affirmed in their full humanity; where youth have the support, resources, and tools they need to heal, grow, and lead dignified lives.