Founded in 2008 based on successful spoken word youth development and education strategies; educators, youth development professionals, writers, and poets built Southern Word from the ground up without substantial institutional or investor backing at the start. We have grown to be a national, non-profit leader in the spoken word education field, serving more than 6,000 youth, 43 schools, and 8 Tennessee counties last year.
Due to our passion for helping youth develop their voices and map their own futures, we have extended programming into music production and writing of all genres. In a culture which aggressively markets products and lifestyles to youth, Southern Word equips youth with the tools to transition from passive consumers into active thinkers, creators, and projectors of their own positive identity.
From guiding and hearing the stories of tens of thousands of youth, Southern Word understands our society’s shortcomings as they relate to youth engagement, literacy, diversity, and mental health. We are responding effectively to some of our most entrenched educational and youth development challenges.