Youth Speaks Hawaii

Youth Speaks History

Founded in January of 2005 by Hawai’i Slam, Youth Speaks has been giving free weekly workshops

to Honolulu’s youth at The ARTS at Marks Garage in Historic China Town.


In July of 2007, Youth Speaks Hawai’i tied for 5th place in San Jose at the 10th annual

Brave New Voices Festival out of 35 teams from across the country.


In July of 2008, Youth Speaks Hawai’i became the Brave New Voices International Champions

in front of a packed house of 5000 at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington DC.


Between April and July of 2008, the Youth Speaks Hawai’i slam team was one of 8 teams from across the country

filmed for an HBO Documentary currently scheduled to be aired in April of 2009. 

This six part series chronicles the journey taken by our youth poets from making the YSH team to the final stage

of the Brave New Voices Festival.


In 2009 YSH won their second straight championship in Chicago, the birthplace of Slam Poetry.

YouTube Video

Educational Merit & Application

How Spoken Word Poetry prepares students to Excel in Language Arts Standards


Reading Students read, share, and discuss poetry. 

The interaction fosters analytical thought and enhances vocabulary and reading skills, both as an individual and as a performer.


Writing Students participate in free-write exercises to develop writing skills and techniques.

These tools are then applied to formal works of writing and revised into works of poetry.


Oral Communication Students perform their original pieces of poetry,

either as individuals or groups, in both formal and casual settings.


Poets at Youth Speaks Hawai`i are given opportunities to develop a “Writer’s Voice” while being allowed topical freedom, allowing teens to find validity of one’s own story, while developing critical thinking and appreciation and accountability of language. Youth Speaks Hawai`i is centered around project-based learning applicable to any unit of measurement associated with learning. The effectiveness of YSH is apparent in change in attitude towards learning and poetry.

YouTube Video

Yearly Event Schedule

WEDNESDAY Writing Workshops

Free for all teenagers. All skill levels are welcome.

We ask students to bring writing utensils & an open mind.

Workshops are a free-speech, hate-free environment run by Youth Speaks Hawai`i Mentors and Guest Poets.

Held 4:30pm – 6pm, weekly @ ARTS at Marks Garage,1159 Nu`uanu Avenue, located in Honolulu’s historic Chinatown.

(Follows DOE School Schedule)

Summer Workshops

YSH Grand Slam Finals

Top 6 poets from this slam represent Hawai`i in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival. This annually Grand Slam Final poetry competition features the most talented youth writers in the state.

Interscholastic slam

Schools create their own slam clubs & compete in a multi-round slam.  This event is twice a year.

David vs goliath SLAM

Youth Speaks Hawai`i Travel Squad VS

Youth Speaks Hawai`i Workshop All-Stars VS

Youth Speaks Hawai`i Mentors

This annual slam is cross-generationally inspiring.

brave new voices

Annual International Youth Poetry Festival


Youth Speaks Hawai`i Mentors & Teen Poets visit schools & perform presentations & run workshops from school-wide to classrooms.


Members of Youth Speaks Hawai’i appear for various events & demonstrations.


Youth Speaks Hawai’i was one of eight teams featured in a seven-part documentary


“Youth Speaks Hawai`i has taught me to love language & has given me the opportunity to embrace the world around me with a broader outlook”

-Ittai Wong, 16

“Youth Speaks Hawai`i has encouraged me to seriously research things I am passionate about, to question common knowledge, & to articulate my conclusions.

-William Giles 19

Youth Speaks Hawai`i is more than just a non-profit org.  It’s a family that welcomes everyone to finally belong.  It’s an outlet & a medium of healing.  Because of Youth Speaks Hawai`i teens like me have the opportunity to grow in a safe environment.

-Jamaica Osorio 18

Youth Speaks Hawai`i  Mentors helped run an artist residency at Farrington High School that electrified our campus and created a poetry buzz amongst our students.

Jessica Serino, English Department Chair

Farrington High School 

Lyz Soto

Executive Director


Darron Cambra

Arts & Education Director


Tui Scanlan

School & Community Outreach Director



Program Director

Youth Speaks Hawai`i

c/o The ARTS at Marks Garage

1159 Nuuanu Avenue,

Honolulu, Hawaii, 96817

Darron Cambra,
Nov 24, 2010, 2:08 PM
Darron Cambra,
Nov 24, 2010, 2:08 PM