To Be Heard Foundation
To Be Heard Foundation

Power Writers

Power Writers

A boots-on-the-ground program, started in 2002 that worked with over 1,000 students in schools and classrooms across New York City.



Power Writers has directly served more than:

  • +1000 high school students.
  • Over 90% have graduated HS
  • 85% have gone on to college.

Of this group who entered college 99% have either graduated or are currently on the path to graduation.

In addition, our students have won nearly $3 million in scholarships (including 11 posse scholarships and a Peabody award.) Among the colleges our students have attended are: Brandeis, Sarah Lawrence, Bard, Wheaton, Hampshire, Lafayette, Lehman, Morris, Hunter and graduate schools such as University of Arizona and Princeton.

Teaching Fundamentals

Create a safe place for the students—a place where everyone feels it is ok to express oneself, to be vulnerable, without fear of ridicule or abuse.

Capture a quiet respectful room where the ethics of hard work, responsibility, and shared insight are honored. Not as easy as one might expect.

Build everyone’s commitment through consistency. This means showing up without fail, following up with sincere interactions and doing what you say you are going to do.

“Read & Feed” forms the core of the Power Writers circle. To be literate in the art of reading and feeding, students not only have to read their original writing but they also become active listeners and engage each other with thoughtful and detailed feedback.

In Their Words

Power writing is an experience good for the damaged soul. Relief of the good kind is found here. But it is fun and expressive, giving you something productive to do in the morning. Freedom of expression and good riddance to oppression.
— - JAKE, Power Writer Student
Power Writers is a safe space for all types of people. We aren’t looked at as just students, we are looked at as individuals. We are being educated through the arts and literature. Power Writing can be therapy for some. You learn how to express yourself in a productive and safe way. You learn culture while being here. You learn about all of these amazing people. In Power Writers we are more than a class. We are family.
— SAMANTHA, Power Writer Student
Power Writing has been one of the most influential events in my life. Through Power Writing I developed the desire to question, to investigate and explore, to challenge and to dream. It was the beginning of a stage in my life in which I learned to look beyond several feet in front of me, and gaze at the horizon far ahead of me, thus better envision the kind of person I wanted to become, acknowledge the kind of world I lived in, and contemplate the things I needed to do in order to leave a mark. Power Writing has inspired me to live not only for me, but to do what I can to make the lives of those around me a little better, to take a position for things I am passionate about, and to never stop learning. Young people need beautiful mentors to guide the children of today to a path in which they hunger for knowledge and truth. Power Writing is an outlet to release pent up sorrow and anger and to transform it into raw and powerful creative writing. I only wish I could put Power Writing in every school.
— Alberto, Power Writer Student