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Celebrating Youth Poetry & Leadership in Nashville
Posted on April 9, 2015

MTA Youth Action Team

In the latest issue of Nashville Arts Magazine, Rebecca Berrios, Community Engagement Manager at Metro Nashville Arts Commission, celebrates youth contributions to this year’s Poetry in Motion program. This is the third year Nashville MTA and Metro Arts have partnered to bring this opportunity to Nashville youth. As Rebecca writes: “Nashville’s participation in the national Poetry in Motion program gives a platform for Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA’s) youth ridership to have a voice through poetry and features their work as public art to enhance the bus-riding experience for the city’s 800,000 monthly riders.” [Read the full article here.]

This year, the MTA Youth Action Team at Oasis Center (pictured right) played a key role in developing the theme for entries – Where Are You Going? – and assisting in the judging process. The youth really enjoyed being part of the Poetry in Motion program this year and look forward to celebrating the youth poets during the Team Green & Transit Now Nashville community fair at the Nashville Farmers’ Market on Wednesday, April 15th at 6pm-8pm. Please stop by to show your support for these fantastic young people. The poetry & music performances will begin at 6:30pm, and the MTA Youth Action Team will have an info booth with strIDe pamphlets (the new youth mobility program through MNPS) as well as some handmade swag.

The opportunities offered to these young people through partnerships between Oasis Center, Nashville MTA, Metro Arts & Transit Now Nashville are truly making positive, long-term changes in their lives and in our communities. As the program coordinator for the MTA Youth Action Team, I have witnessed tremendous growth and leadership development in these teens since its inception two years ago. One young person on our team has grown into an eloquent public speaker over the year and a half she’s been on our team thanks, in part, to the many opportunities she has had to interact with community leaders at public events. Another young man on the team has recognized the value of networking with community leaders, such Councilman Ronnie Steine and Nashville MTA’s CEO Steve Bland. As college students, these young people stay in touch with our team and use their experience in community developing and civic engagement to promote positive change wherever they go.

Thank you all for valuing the many ways in which young people can and do contribute to our great community.

Abby Whisenant, Program Coordinator at Oasis Center & Transit Now Nashville Board Member