Here is news about the great work that Pongo Publishing does with our youth.  One poem on our website tells how a young man ended up in Juvenile Hall due to his sisters murders. That and more can be found at the link to our site I have provided.

More on Pongo can be found at:

Richard Gold has been a regular presenter at our National conferences we have held on Violent Death. He will be there again this year in May.

Connie Saindon

Pongo News:

Thank you for all the warm responses after the TV story.

Here’s a comment that came in from a teen: “Hey, I just wanted to say these poems are precious. I mean, I guess you know that. But now I know that, too. I’m a teenager, and to me poetry’s sort of a blanket to cover myself with, and it’s kind of big, right? Like, it covers everybody. It’s beautiful.”

Here’s the link to the KING5 story about Pongo Teen Writing in juvenile detention:

In addition, I have published a new blog, announcing the latest winner of the Pongo Poetry Prize — a poem “I Will Always Love You.” In the blog, I also feature the poem “Dear Mom” that Davina (a pseudonym) reads in the TV piece. These two poems are about the authors’ deep love for their parents in spite of terrible hurt.
My volunteers and I learn a lot from the teens who write with us!

Pongo Teen Writing Project

Poetry flows from teens behind bars


Posted on March 1, 2012 at 5:58 PM

I’ve always been drawn by the stories of people who make a difference in our community. I call those people our treasures. But so many of the people we introduce you to few know about. That’s the beauty of what we do, and this Making a Difference KING franchise. It’s to help give the recognition and attention the treasures in our community deserve.

The world needs to know about Richard Gold and his team of poet volunteers, Eli Hastings, Adrienne Johanson, Mike Hickey, and Vanessa Hooper. Photojournalist Doug Burgess and I got to see this team in action. I was in awe. Richard Gold runs the non-profit the Pongo Teen Writing Project. He’s reached 5,500 teens in the last 16 years.

“Pongo runs writing projects for youth who’ve suffered childhood traumas, such as abuse and neglect,” says Gold who was named a Microsoft Integral Fellow by the Microsoft Alumni Foundation in 2010 with $25,000 for Pongo.

“We work inside juvenile detention centers, homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, and other sites. And we particularly focus our work on young people who have a hard time expressing themselves. Our primary purpose is to help our authors understand their feelings, build self-esteem, and take better control of their lives,” says Gold.

Check out Pongo’s website for more information on how they reach teens, and how they train counselors and teachers in their methods, which we got to see for ourselves, Talk about making a difference!

“We’ve produced 13 books, distributed 13,000 copies of our books and talked to 10,000 people in the community about the lives and poetry of our authors,” says Gold who does survyes with the teen poets afterwards. “Our surveys of Pongo authors indicate that 100 percent enjoy writing with Pongo. 70 percent write on issues they don’t normally talk about, 30 percent are new to poetry, and 95 percent expect to write more in the future.”

When you see our video piece that aired on KING 5 News, you’ll see I mentioned a particular poem “There Had To Have Been.” It’s extraordinary. Here it is in its entirety:

by a young woman in juvenile detention, age 14