Literacy rates in Los Angeles are the second lowest in the nation, but despite the grim statistics a few organizations are working with youth to generate a passion for reading, performing and writing.
Diane Luby Lane founded Get Lit-Words Ignite to introduce youth to reading, literary performance and poetry. The program reaches over 15,000 at–risk students at 45 high schools a year. The non-profit group recently held a classical poetry slam at the Wiltern Theater with over 1,000 people in attendance and included a poetry performance by Academy award winning actor Tim Robbins.
L.A. Youth, the nearly 25-year old paper written by teens for teens, is facing the possibility of closing due to lack of funding. Efforts are underway to raise $500,000 before May 15 to keep the paper running.
According to the L.A. Times, “the paper is printed six times a year, with a circulation of close to 70,000 and an estimated readership of 400,000.” The students write about issues close to their heart and get the opportunity to work with experienced editors.
Will these groups help change the literacy rates in L.A. by creating a life-long love of learning, reading and self expression?
Donna Myrow, executive director, L.A. Youth, an L.A. newspaper written by high school students for their peers
Jazmine Mendoza, junior at Chavez Learning Academy in San Fernando
Diane Luby Lane, founder and director, Get Lit-Words Ignite, a L.A. based nonprofit that promotes literacy by engaging at-risk youth in literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs
Junior Herrera, teen poet, he is 18 years old and has been involved with Get Lit since he was 16. He currently attends East LA Community College. Junior is also a part of The Get Lit Players, Los Angeles’ award-winning classic teen poetry troupe