Thursday with LHPAI: young "alumni" keeping in touch online

Sometimes Twitter makes me feel like we're down from six degrees of separation to one or two. That's how I met a poet named Madeleine Clifford: through the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute Twitter feed.
Photos & video courtesy MAD_lines (Madeleine Clifford)
Although she now teaches kids in San Francisco's Mission District how to tell their own stories, she still keeps in touch with the Institute online.
Clifford attended poetry slams and open-mic events at the Institute between the ages of 16 and 19. The experiences sparked a "lifelong interest in poetry and rhyme," as she put it in an email interview, and the building itself was a refuge for a teen who'd just moved out of her mother's house:
It was a very difficult time for me and I feel that [LHPAI] was a safe, consistent space that I enjoyed coming to. I'd get to see my friends, and felt a sense of belonging that I was desperate for at the time.
Clifford describes LHPAI as "the perfect place for young people":
If a parent is having trouble understanding their teenager then they should definitely tap into some of the programs at [LHPAI] -- have their child get creative. It really is a wonderful space for young folks.
Coming from half of the duo who opened for hip-hop artist Macklemore a couple years ago, that's really saying something. If you've participated in any LHPAI youth programs:

  • Comment on the LHPAI Facebook page
  • Tweet on the LHPAI Twitter feed
  • Call Jacob Galfano at 206-684-4758 and tell him which programs you were in as a young person.
I've saved the best for last: Watch Clifford's "I Need a Moment" on YouTube. Enjoy!