YouthSpeaks Nashville



Youth Speaks Nashville is a program of Southern Word.

Through words, all youth claim the power and hope to determine their future.

Through the literary and performing arts, Southern Word offers creative solutions for youth to build literacy and presentation skills, reconnect to their education and to their lives, and act as leaders in the improvement of their communities. We are absolutely committed to providing youth, especially in underserved communities, with as many opportunities as possible to develop and publicly present their voices both live and in print, video, audio, and digital media.


Southern Word and their affiliates around the country are the leading nonprofit presenters of Spoken Word performance, education, and youth development programs.

During the school day, Southern Word places writer mentors in school language arts and drama classes. Over the course of one to ten days, mentors take students through a series of writing and presenting exercises which use poetry as a tool for developing communication skills, as well as for connecting their education to their lives. Writer mentors demonstrate contemporary literacy in compelling ways so that students are inspired to represent who they are, where they are from, and what they believe through language.

After school, writer mentors work with community partners to infuse literacy into their programs. We then develop central open mics and shows for youth to assemble, share their pieces, and further develop the power of their individual voices.

Top poets who have emerged from the programs of Southern Word and Youth Speaks Nashville have become regular presenters at civic, statewide, community, and business events. Please let us know if you would like to offer a platform for these voices at your event.

Contact us by clicking here here.