Pongo Publishing Programs
Pongo is a twenty-year-old nonprofit. We have worked with about 7,000 teens, half in individual sessions, to help them write therapeutically about their difficult life experiences. We are currently in our sixteenth year of working at King County juvenile detention and our thirteenth year at Child Study and Treatment Center, the state psychiatric hospital for children. Other Pongo sites have included Orion Center (homeless youth), Treehouse (foster youth), Echo Glen (youth in juvenile rehab), and Lambert House(LGBT youth).
Pongo has professionally produced thirteen books of poetry by its teen authors, and has distributed 14,000 of these books for free to distressed youth and also to libraries, judges, and agencies.
At book fairs and conferences over 18 years, Pongo has talked to 10,000 people in the community about distressed youth. Pongo has exhibited at Bumbershoot Arts Festival for 18 years. We are a sponsor of Folklife Festival. We have appeared at Burning Word, WordStock, and other festivals.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Richard Gold, Pongo's founder, has published a book about Pongo's methods. It describes how to use poetry to help youth who have suffered childhood trauma. The book is "Writing with At-Risk Youth" (Rowman & Littlefield Education, Feb 2014). Pongo received a Seattle Mayor's Arts Award in 2013. Richard Gold was honored for his work with Pongo by Bill and Melinda Gates in November 2010, when he was named a Microsoft Integral Fellow by the Microsoft Alumni Foundation. The award was judged by leaders of five prominent national foundations.
Pongo has recently been featured in the following media (among others!):
PBS NewsHour, Spring 2014 ( http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/troubled-teens-poetry-offers-happiness-after-hardships/ )
KING5 News, March 2012
KPLU Radio, May 2011
YES Magazine. September 2009
The Stranger. May 2009
KUOW Radio. April 2008
Seattle Post-Intelligencer. April 2008
The Pongo website allows abused and neglected teens from anywhere to write poetry online. The featured writing activities on the site have been developed by Pongo over a number of years, to serve the emotional needs of our authors. The web site includes teaching information and writing activities for teachers and counselors to download and use.
Pongo is actively training and mentoring individuals to lead projects on the Pongo model nationally.