Pongo Teen Writing

pongo logo 2When I was living in Barcelona in 2008, I was eager to find a direct route into the healing/social services upon my return to Seattle (I’d had a wonderful adventures in Spain, but had not found a way to effectively serve others there that felt meaningful).  I began a short-lived feasibility study on how to use creative writing with distressed populations.  It was short-lived because I found Pongo.  I’ve been honored to serve Pongo youth now for six years, four as a volunteer mentor, two as a project leader and now as the Assistant Director.

Pongo is the reason I returned to school for a Master’s degree in psychology and youth therapy and is the reason I’ve been able to bring together my passion for human rights, healing and the written word.



Pongo Publishing (The Pongo Teen Writing Project) teaches and mentors personal poetry by distressed teens, especially those who have a hard time expressing themselves. To accomplish our goals, we run writing projects inside juvenile detention centers, homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, and other sites. The consistent theme in our authors’ poetry is childhood trauma, such as abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. Our primary purpose is to help our authors understand their feelings, build self-esteem, and take better control of their lives.

In addition, through the Pongo web site, we provide therapeutic writing opportunities for English-speaking youth all over the world. We also train counselors and teachers in our unique teaching methods, with workshops and on our web site. At community festivals, speaking engagements, and media opportunities, we speak to the community about the emotional, familial, and social conditions that affect distressed youth. Finally, to benefit youth, professionals, and the community, Pongo publishes and shares poignant and insightful teen writing in books and online. We are advocates for the healing power of poetry in addressing trauma.

Dig Pongo here: www.pongoteenwriting.org