While some high school students are making up for failing grades in math and English during summer school classes, others are participating in exciting summer programs. Do The Write Thing Foundation of DC is sponsoring a unique six-week media program at Woodson SHS in far northeast (Ward 7) that involves 50 African American youth in the following:
Poetry writing/publishing workshops that teach youth how to write haikus and solar cycle poems plus every aspect of publishing their own collection of poems. Solar cycle poems draw connections between planetary and human evolution. They will develop and submit peace haikus for the Sonia Sanchez "peace is a haiku" mural project. It is anticipated that these youth will sign copies of their book of poems at the Author's Pavilion during the prestigious Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's (CBCF) Annual Legislative Conference in September 2012 (just as they did in 2011).
Poetry/songwriting workshops: through poetry reading and song performance, youth will write songs using poetry. Students will learn simple steps to find their own path in the journey from inspiration to creation. Using formal and casual exercises, the workshops will present ways of finding inspiration, capturing ideas, storytelling, building lyrics and using melody. Youth will have the opportunity to add beats and record their songs in a portable sound studio then upload their lyrics to YouTube and Vimeo.
Shooting and editing of videos under the supervision of Hollywood filmmaker, Ryan Richmond (who was born and raised in the District).
Planning and attending the July 9th private screening (at the Landmark E Street Cinema, 11th and E, Northwest) of the award winning film, MONEY MATTERS, a dramatic urban tale set in Washington, D.C., that was written, directed and produced by Ryan Richmond.
The film, Money Matters, explores many of the issues affecting District teens including HIV/AIDS, teenage drinking, sexual identity conflicts, lesbianism, girl gangs, prostitution, teen pregnancy, date rape, parental drug use and adult drug dealers. The teen protagonist, a District resident, finds a positive outlet for all the problems she has to deal with by writing poetry. The film delivers a powerful message to teens who are dealing with similar problems: drugs, alcohol and early sex will not solve problems, just exacerbate them. The screening will be followed by Q&A with Mr. Richmond and the film's two stars, Terri Abney and Aunjanue Ellis. Terri was a teen attending Duke Ellington at the time of filming. She just graduated from Clark University in Atlanta. Ms. Ellis' film credits include The Help and Ray (a biopic on Ray Charles). She also had a re-occurring role on the TV drama, The Missing which premiered during the 2011-2012 TV season.