Turning feelings into art - part II

Turning feelings into art - part II

IBA’s Youth Development Program (YDP) serves local young people, ages 14-18, by fostering socio-emotional, intellectual, and artistic growth through academic support, job readiness, arts education, leadership training, civic engagement, and advocacy opportunities.

YDP’s summer poetry workshops is one of IBA’s most impactful programs. Participants explore their identities, lived experience and create art on issues they care deeply about. YDP participants Justin and Nick are sharing their poems from the summer workshop with us, demonstrating how creating art is empowering and healing, allowing young people to view themselves as survivors and not as victims (van Westrhenen and Fritz 2014). Program Director, Pedro Cruz “ We want to create a space we wish we had when we were their age. A space where they can explore their identities, culture and develop leadership."


by Justin

Who is the villain in your story?

Me. I am.

I am the villain in my story. I am the villain holding me back.

The only limit to my potential is me.

The only person I’m in competition with is myself.

Never satisfied with where I am.

I hate this villain and there is nobody I want to be better than.

I am the crafty author of my reality.

As the person who writes my story is me.

You are a villain in one story, an angel in another.

You are a dull nobody to a stranger, a complex puzzle to your closest friend, and you are none of these to yourself.

We have very little say in the roles we play in the lives of others.

Our truth will land differently with each person we encounter, it will be filtered through their entire history and orientation to create a new version of you.

For every person you have to come into contact with, there is another you, another whole truth of who “you” are.

You do not have control over the “you” in the story of others.

The only truth we have control over is our own.

And yet, you’ve been casted as the villain.


By Nick

I'm tired, bedrested.

I want to escape.

Everyone inside is wasted.

Could you save me? I feel lost.

Can you save me? From all these thoughts.

Maybe I don't have a soul.

But why am I soul bound?

I see the chains wrapped around me start to get heavy and put 6 feet underground. It's becoming such a pain, I wish I could tell you why they remain

Bury my bones where no one can find them.

Is there a hidden treasure? Or is it a kingdom come?

I'm tired and bedridden.

I can't escape.

Everyone is gone.

The chains get tighter, yet tighter.

But they're still hidden.

Bags start to form.

Is there saving? Please don't wallow.

Is it raining? Or is it my sorrow..?

There's no control, when I have no soul.

There's no motivation, nor determination.

And I can't help but put it into words.

Demons rest upon my shoulders,

Sometimes I wish that I was stronger

Story's can be vague, or plain, or even a mystery.

Mine is a plague, so vain, and oh so bastardly.

I'm tired and I want to hide in my bed to escape it all.

I see the light and what's glowing under.

Days I wish I was her instead of this vessel, I would just sit there and conjure and think about which ring I plunder. They would've started to wonder.

Do you want any more questions?

You better start asking yourselves.

I don't wanna hear them, keep it yourselves.

Say it to someone else

Voice your concerns to someone else who cares

Because I know I couldn't care less

I hear the knocks at my door.

One, two, three.

Dinner's ready.

For more information about this program, please contact Pedro Cruz, IBA’s Youth Development Programs Director at (617) 399-1957 or To donate to the Youth Development Program this or other IBA programs, please visit