Lakeside Academy students' works come Out of the Shadows

The power of poetry and young voices will be heard in an upcoming collaboration between Kinetic Affect's nonprofit arm, Speak It Forward, and the students of Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo.

The spoken word duo Gabrile Giron and Kirk Latimer recently wrapped up a 13 week workshop at the juvenile rehabilitation facility and the two knew the work done there needed to be heard beyond the confines of the campus.

"The poetry they are writing and sharing is transformative, on topics that will blow you away," says Latimer. "Their work will leave a lasting notion that these youths are the ones who can, like Gabriel and I, one day turn their circumstance around to impact the lives of others."

The show, Voices From the Shadows, will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 4 and Feb. 5. Tickets are $10, and are available at the door, but patrons are encouraged to buy them in advance.

Latimer says the work shows it is time to help rehabilitate youths by understanding that "we all need healing, whether or not our problems are visible to others."

"It's the ones who have experienced such hardship who must be extraordinary -- who choose to be extraordinarily good or bad. We show them how much more rewarding it is to choose to do extraordinary good," he says.

Lakeside Academy operates a highly structured residential program for girl's ages 12 to 18, for male youth who are in need of an out-of-home placement, and males with sexually aggressive behaviors, who are 12 to 18 years of age. It is operated by Sequel Youth and Family Services.

All students residing at Lakeside Academy attend school on campus. The school is operated by Kalamazoo Regional Education Services Agency (KRESA). Classes focus on English, math, science and social studies.

Speak it Forward provides educational opportunities to help youth and adults express their voice through the written and oral word. It has worked in the Calhoun County Juvenile Home, the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home, and Starr Commonwealth's day treatment program.

Writer: Kathy Jennings
Source: Kirk Latimer
, Speak It Forward