We Are the Ones We are Looking For*




On April 19, 2016 300 passionate members of the Community-Word family gathered at Bonhams to celebrate 18 years delivering quality arts education to NYC public schools.

Since it’s inception and founding by the Executive Director Michele Kotler, Community-Word Project has educated more than 18,000 students and trained more than 750 Teaching Artists. Community-Word Project works tirelessly with the most under-resourced public schools to integrate multi-disciplinary arts education with class cirruculum. In this way, allows student of different learning styles an access point to their regular studies.

Community-Word believes that a safe, creative learning environment is optimal to setting our young students down the oath to lifelong learning. After finishing our interdisciplinary arts program, our students demonstrate extraordinary improvement in the areas of literacy, leadership skills, and creative and critical thinking skills. 

We are approaching 20 years in arts education. As we approach this milestone, we have taken some time to re-Believe in our mission of giving Voice to those who are so often not heard.

* Our friends at Plenty Consulting have a message worth repeating:

“The better world we seek is waiting for us to change it – not politicians, not bosses, not others.
We are the ones we have been looking for. We have the answers within ourselves – our hearts and minds,
that are waiting to be heard to bring our best selves to one another. The work begins within.”
H/T Plenty Consulting, a Passion-to-Passion consultancy to non-profits that rejects the notion of scarcity



One Community-Word Project student from Queens attended the event and recited her original poem about loss as her younger self; wondering about death, the big life questions. And through her writing, working through complex emotions, and finding the glint of hope to navigate through loss as a 6 year old.

Inside a 6-year-old’s brain

Momma why did he die?
I questioned life
after the tragic phenomenon aross
Life became complex,
as if I was manifesting vitality

My feet had just touched elementary,
had just touched the bottom of the tall pole in the playground
Why did he die?
Why did he die?
I constantly studied my mother’s eyes
anticipating the altercation, she might hand me

Life is but a mere splotch of hour
that once handed is snatched away
by the thief of life

 Why did he die?
I lift my hands and cry
Were my eyes supposed to be this dry?
Everyone speaks softly
but spits out lies

 It’s going to be okay;
they say
But how do they know if their dreams weren’t washed away?
His eyes
His face
The way his bristled beard scratched away at my soft skin…
At least they were

Can you really say it’s going to be okay?
Can you ensure my skin’s not in flames?
Can you tell me of a happy ever after?
Because all our neighbors keep lying

 My mom
I can’t turn to
I must find my own way
to get out of this dark space
and escape through these words
to a place I can call my own. 

 – Krystal Reid, TYWLS Queens