When James Kass decided to help young people find their voices through poetry, he figured it would be something he would do for a few years and perhaps 50 San Francisco kids would participate.

He was wrong. Monumentally wrong. It’s been 19 years, and a quarter-million kids from around the world participate each year.

Kass wasn’t much of a visionary about his own future.

But as a graduate student in San Francisco State’s master of fine arts program, he noted the lack of diversity in his writing class. He sensed a universal desire to write, to speak, to share thoughts and ideas, but few places for all young people to do that.

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SF Gate | Youth Speaks | James Kass


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