On Monday, Feb. 14, the Historic Savannah Theater hosted the readings of Deep’s Kids, a local and non-profit organization that encourage Savannah’s children to express through writing.
To do so, Deep can count on the support of its 26 Writing Fellows–volunteers who find time to teach writing to children once a week.
“This past fall semester, we have thirteen middle schools in the Savannah school district area that ran the Deep program (the Young Author Deep project).
Of those thirteen schools, there is at least one, usually three students from each of those groups selected by their peers and by their teachers to present their work on stage tonight,” said Louise Tremblay, Operations Manager at Deep.
Tremblay goes on saying they will also be awarding one of Deep’s Writing Fellows, and also select children part of the Young Author Deep project, to be this semester’s Deep Laureate.
One of the significant organizers of this event is Megan Ave’Lallemant, Deep’s Senior Program Director, who is going to present and welcome forty young writers on stage.
Ave’Lallemant told us more about how Deep picks their Deep Laureate’s finalist, “twice a year, we give an award to a writer who embodies Deep’s mission,” said Ave’Lallemant.
“That means their writing is the deepest, the most original, and the most fearless.” When the finalists are selected, the community can vote on Deep’s website to choose the winner for this semester.
The volunteers—or writing Fellow—are not only SCAD students but also PR people (does that mean Public Relation?), some retired people and even accountants. Writing Fellows don’t need to write for a living to be part of Deep’s Volunteer program.
When asked why volunteers go by Writing Fellows Ave’Lallemant answered, “we don’t use the word ‘teachers,’ we call them Writing Fellows because we believe that everybody is a co-writer.”
The show started with Dare Duke, Deep’s Executive Director, presenting Deep’s mission through his own father’s experience, “he believed profoundly in a necessity of communities to take care of people, especially when they’re in horrible situations.” Duke also explained how important his father’s values were to him, and how Deep’s value are so important to Savannah.
Duke has been running Deep for two years, and shows big enthusiasm, “I feel honored to be able to do it. What Deep is doing to the community is profoundly important. There is a lot of ways to describe what we do but at the end of the day what we do is creating spaces for young people to tell stories.”
Dukes also adds that their role in Savannah’s community is to teach them how to listen and to value everybody’s stories. “It’s hard work,” said Dukes, “but it’s rewarding.”
Children’s work is published in four different books, arranged by four different districts of Savannah’s schools, and are available online.