Young Audiences' Teen Slam Competition a Huge Success in Atlanta, Georgia

Teen Slam Winner

Kaelin Matthews, winner of the Teen Slam Competition

Early this year, Kaelin Matthews won the Teen Slam Competition hosted by Young Audiences at the Woodruff Arts Center.  Kaelin, a junior at Carver High School, is one of 22 teens from three Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta who performed original poetry in the SLAM Competition. Participating students were from Douglas, East DeKalb and Warren/Holyfield Boys & Girls Clubs. 

This fall, Young Audiences and the Alliance Theatre partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta to deliver arts-integrated literacy programs to high school students.  In the Teen Slam program, Young Audiences and Alliance Theatre teaching artists, Tommy Bottoms, Theresa Davis and Mannie Rivers taught high school students to identify the elements of literary and slam (or performance) poetry and write their own pieces over the course of ten workshops after school at the Boys & Girls Clubs.

The students competed in front of parents, friends, Boys & Girls Clubs staff members and a panel of celebrity judges (Peabody Award winning poet, Abyss, authors, Amita Rao and Kim Green, HBO Def poet, Malik Salaam, and poet and performer, Vincent “Dichototomy” Hocket). Trophies were awarded to the individual and group winners. 

Students also saw the teaching artists in action when the program opened with performances by professional Slam Poets, Mannie Rivers, Tommy Bottoms and Theresa Davis, emcee of the event.

“The collaboration between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, Young Audiences and the Alliance Theatre has been beneficial for students that attend the Clubs.  It was breath-taking to see the final product of their hard work, and the experience of performing at the Woodruff Arts Center, in front of a large audience was invaluable. They truly left all of their energy on the stage,” remarked Crystal Brown, Director, Youth Leadership Programs, Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

President of Young Audiences, Charisse M. Williams said, “We look forward to offering the Teen Slam program to even more Boys & Girls Clubs in the future.  I marvel at the impact this program has on students’ writing and public speaking, skills that will help them succeed in school and life.”

The winner, Kaelin Matthews and Charisse Williams were interviewed by WABE radio. Hear what they have to say.

Learn more about the Boys & Girls Club.


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