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Harvest Youth Board supports Piedmont Arts’ effort to ‘Lift Up’ area high school students through poetry

November 2, 2022

Martinsville, Va. — The Harvest Youth Board funded a $5,000 grant to Piedmont Arts to support the “Poetry to Lift Us Up” project within all local high schools. 

 The program features engaging workshops taught by Roscoe Burnems, a National Poetry Slam winner and Richmond, Virginia’s first-ever poet laureate, and by Angela Dribben, of the Poetry Society of Virginia.

The primary focus of these sessions is to make poetry accessible to students of all ability and literacy levels. In addition, the workshops enable students to break away from the monotony of nonfiction-writing prompts and essays, while also strengthening students’ ability to write and analyze them.

Harvest Youth Board Member Cristiano di Maro said, “The grant focuses on increasing literacy in local high schools through poetry, while also making poetry fun and interactive for young people in our area. Being able to write better, and have a new appreciation for poetry, are skills that people can use throughout their entire lives. I think this grant is perfect for stimulating interest and enjoyment in writing in our schools.”

Sarah Short, Education Coordinator for Piedmont Arts, said poetry readings, slams and groups are a fantastic way for students to hone their public speaking skills.

“After years of irregular schooling and separation, poetry offers students a way to connect that is authentic, encouraging and fun,” Short said. “Students will analyze, write and perform original poetry in new and exciting ways during these workshops, and hopefully, outside of the classroom as well.”

For more information about Piedmont Arts, its programs or how to donate, visit

About The Harvest Youth Board:
The Harvest Youth Board was created in June 2015 to develop projects and initiatives important to young people in Martinsville-Henry County, and to advise the Harvest Foundation Board of Directors on issues relating to youth. The board is supported by the Harvest Foundation and the Kiwanis Club. Grants are available to nonprofits in Martinsville-Henry County for up to $5,000. 

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