Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Youth Speaks has long championed a local, national, and increasingly global movement of young people picking up pens and stepping proudly onto stages, declaring themselves present.
We believe that literacy is a need, not a want.
One of the world’s leading presenters of Spoken Word performance, education, and youth development programs, Youth Speaks produces local and national youth poetry slams, festivals, and reading series, alongside a comprehensive slate of arts-in-education programs during the school day, in the after-school hours and on weekends. In addition, we create internationally-recognized theater and digital programming, and have helped launch a national network of over 70 programs who believe in the power of young people.
Through the intersection of arts education and youth development practices, civic engagement strategies, and high quality artistic presentation, Youth Speaks creates safe spaces that challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of societal change.
Youth Speaks exists to shift the perceptions of youth by combating illiteracy, isolation, alienation, and silence, creating a global movement of brave new voices bringing the noise from the margins to the core.