Young Authors in the Bronx Conquer Storytelling Fears with Citizen Teacher

Young people with a story to tell.

Young people with a story to tell. (c) All rights reserved. *Photo courtesy of Kissing Lions Public Relations

Bronx, New York, (May 20, 2013) - Seventh grade authors from the Bronx Writing Academy conquer storytelling fears during a one-night-only staged reading event at landmark theater Pregones, in the Bronx. Under the guidance of volunteer Citizen Teacher Kahshanna Evans the group explored creating their own anthology and professionally presenting their work. The students named their collection of works Us: A Bronx Writing Academy Anthology. The Citizen Schools program mentors volunteer experts during semester long apprenticeships in all fields to extend the learning day for middle school students in low income neighborhoods.

Evans is the founder of Kissing Lions Public Relations and author of a screenplay about violence against children. After becoming aware of the need for Citizen Teachers at a networking event designed to showcase local non-profits that were in need of immediate volunteers signed onto the program and was accepted. Evans invited students to remember they are community and that communication and confidence are invaluable resources for low-income artists.

“Entering the world of young artists was a total culture shock for me. Every student had their own personality so I tried to help them channel that to paper. I could see some students with talent who had no idea of it’s worth. That’s where most of my efforts were focused. There was a story about bulimia that my student Ibrahim wrote that really touched me. He really has talent. Also, I realized people like Mrs. Cassado, Ms. Capisano and Heather Day from Citizen Schools who worked with me are incredibly dedicated to the program, the kids...they are diligent and have award winning patience.”

With the support of Alvan Colon Lespier of Pregones Theater students were able to experience what it’s like to be on the stage and present stories about love, life and grieving. While the volunteers from the program may know talent when they see it students with ongoing exposure to educational programs is a superhighway to helping them realize their gifts.