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Split This Rock Youth Programs

Important Update: Split This Rock entered a fallow season on July 1, 2021, and all of our external programming and publishing efforts are on pause until April 1, 2022. We’re excited for time to dig into deeper wells of creativity for: 1) expanding the organizations’ capacity for working towards liberation; 2) defining more concretely what working towards liberation means at Split This Rock; 3) increasing the impact of our poetry, resistance, and community building offerings; and 4) more deeply aligning the organization’s mission with its systems, protocols, and practices. Learn more about the inspiration, projects, and goals for fallow season at the News from Split This Rock webpage. Visit the fallow season webpage to explore responses to frequently asked questions. We’re eager to continue engaging with you! To be invited to fallow season community gatherings we’ll be hosting, be sure to complete this online form.

All programming referenced below is paused for fallow season.

Past Youth Programs Offerings

Each year Split This Rock serves hundreds of young people and the schools they attend by offering them opportunities to write, perform, and connect with a diverse community of socially engaged writers. Our programs have been acknowledged for excellence in youth arts programming by DC City Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, and as a 2016 Mayor’s Arts Awards finalist. Through the art and witness of poetry, young people not only develop exceptional writing and public speaking skills but also acquire an invigorated sense of self and insight into their power to transform themselves and society.

Multiple black and white images of youth programs in action, including youth poets on stage performing poems, youth sitting together at a workshop, youth posing for a group picture, and youth in the audience at an event cheering.













Split This Rock Youth Programs provide year-round opportunities for personal and artistic growth for youth ages 12-19 including:

Writing & Performance Workshops - Paused for Fallow Season
Offered both in and out of schools, workshops are led by dynamic teaching artists and support youth in honing their artistic skills for effective, concise, and powerful writing and public speaking.

Split This Rock has offered bi-weekly virtual Writing Workshops for people aged 24 and younger. The workshops took place via Zoom on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays each month. Interested youth completed the online sign-up form to indicate their interest in attending the workshops to helps us know who to expect and keep our writing space safe!

If the online form is not accessible to you, youth could email the Director of Youth Programs, Chelsea Iorlano using the instructions below.

Send your email with the subject line "Youth Writing Workshop Sign Up" to

Please include the following in the body of your email:

  • Your First and Last Name
  • Your Pronouns (ex: She/Her, He/Him, They/Them)
  • Your School or University Affiliation (if applicable)
  • How you heard about Split This Rock's Youth Writing Workshops
  • Some things you would like to work on during the Youth Writing Workshops
  • Accessibility requests and/or questions

School-Based Activities - Paused for Fallow Season
Exceptional poets serving as teaching artists are placed in schools throughout the DC metro area to support educators, students, and poetry clubs. Available to lead workshops, open mics, spoken word poetry competitions called “slams,” and school assemblies, teaching artists also help students prepare for Split This Rock’s regional poetry festivals: Louder Than a Bomb and Hyper Bole. Support, feedback, and tools such as lesson plans are provided to educators at schools to assist them in integrating poetry into the curriculum. As a Curriculum Partner with DC Public Schools, Split This Rock designs curriculum for integrating poetry into high school English, music, and visual arts classes.

Open Mics - Paused for Fallow Season
Monthly and school-based open mics offer young people safe space to share their art and be affirmed for it within a community of their peers.

Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Slam Festival - Paused for Fallow Season
Louder Than a Bomb gathers over 200 youth on teams representing high schools throughout the DC area. A regional version of Young Chicago Authors’ nationally celebrated festival, the event is designed to offer youth safe space to tell their stories, build community across lines of difference, and speak out on social issues. Youth participate in open mics, workshops, and a tournament of slam competitions crowning one school’s team as champion.

Hyper Bole Youth Poetry Slam Festival - Paused for Fallow Season
Witness the power of youth poetry, or participate yourself if you're someone 13-19 years old! Hyper Bole is the largest individual youth poetry slam and festival in Virginia, bringing together youth from northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland for a full day of individual slams, poetry workshops, an open mic, and a final slam that culminates the event. At Finals, one youth will be crowned Hyper Bole Champion and win a $1,000 scholarship. Presented by Split This Rock Youth Programs in partnership with George Mason University's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Mason Reads, and the Fall for the Book Festival. Visit Split This Rock's Youth Programs website to find more information and register for the event. For more information about Hyper Bole and to register for the event, visit Split This Rock's Youth Program's website

DC Youth Slam Team (DCYST) - Paused for Fallow Season
Annually, through a series of performance poetry competitions, called slams, held throughout the city, Split This Rock selects a team of youth between the ages of 13 and 19 to serve as ambassadors for Split This Rock and the DC metro area. Members of the DCYST are coached on writing and performance; speak out on social issues; serve as leaders within Split This Rock Youth Programs; participate in youth poetry gatherings such as Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival where the team took 1st place in 2014; and travel to perform regionally, nationally, and periodically abroad.

For More Information

Please visit the DC Youth Slam Team on Facebook or Twitter, the Split This Rock Youth Programs website, or Split This Rock's Upcoming Events page. Also, enjoy videos of youth performances on the DC Youth Slam Team Youtube channel.