Hannah Smith , Dascha Choudhury, Rakaya Simmons, Bryn Thomas, Ashanti Simmons - not pictured: Marquedelle Rodriguez, Treasure Tannock. *Photo supplied
Hannah Smith , Dascha Choudhury, Rakaya Simmons, Bryn Thomas, Ashanti Simmons - not pictured: Marquedelle Rodriguez, Treasure Tannock. *Photo supplied

The Chewstick Foundation, a Registered Charity whose mission is to empower storytelling, creative expression and social justice and to enrich youth, arts, culture and community; is reaching out for support for their “Break The Chains Teen Poetry & Spokenword Club” program annual trip to represent Bermuda at the international Brave New Voices Poetry & Spokenword Festival (www.bravenewvoices.org) in Philadelphia this July. 

Break The Chains is the evolution of the Foundation’s Youth Poetry & Spoken Word program that encourages teens to develop public speaking, community consciousness, collaboration and literacy skills while speaking up about the things that matter to them most and helps them to know that they are not alone. Break The Chains participants not only took part in bi-monthly summits  throughout the year to enhance skills in poetry performance, writing and experience, cultural enrichment and social consciousness but also developed in-school poetry clubs led by teacher coaches at Mount Saint Agnes Academy, Cedarbridge Academy, The Berkeley Institute, Warwick Academy and The Bermuda High School for Girls . This pioneering program will see the young participants represent Bermuda in The 17th Annual Brave New Voices Poetry & Spoken Word Competition taking place this year in Philadelphia.

To make this goal a reality, Break The Chains Teen Poetry & Spokenword Club will be featured in a week of fundraising, with a Wednesday, July 9th Tag Day in the City of Hamilton. Youth participants from Break The Chains will be reciting poetry alongside other volunteers while asking the public to make donations toward their trip. They’re eager to meet people from across the community, who might be curious about what Break The Chains Teen Poetry & Spokenword Club means to them and how each of you can help to encourage the voices of a new generation, to thrive.

They will also be sharing information for their Thursday, July 10th  performance at the Chewstick Lounge on the corner of Elliot Street and Court Street. The event entitled RISE will be  a Poetry Showcase where Bermuda will have the chance to see and support the young people involved in Break The Chains, as they share the stage with host Tiffany Paynter and coach Matthew Johnstone and Education Director, Yesha Townsend and  more.  Doors will open at 6pm with entry to the event being, FREE but The Chewstick Foundation encourages donations toward the travel expenses for the group. Donations can be made online at www.ptix.bm or by contacting The Chewstick Foundation.

Break The Chains Teen Poetry & Spokenword Club is targeting to raise five thousand dollars to enable them the opportunity to connect with a global community of young poets, strengthen their voices, foster connections and to express and understand each other in an environment of respect, freedom, love, and truth. The participants and facilitators have been working feverishly to reach Philadelphia, having conducted workshops and performances with proceeds dedicated to the program, completing pledge sheets, taking part in community performances, producing events and now planning a week of entertainment for the enjoyment and upliftment of their community.

All are encouraged to take notice of these and additional events and to contribute if possible as it is important to support the positive endeavours of our young people. For more information call 292 2439 or email info@chewstick.org.