With a long-awaited return for the North American International Detroit Auto Show to be live, on Saturday, Sept. 17, the InsideOut Literary Arts Performance Troupe delivered powerful spoken word thoughts in the Toyota Exhibit Area in Detroit, MI. Toyota and InsideOut Literary Arts, an award-winning organization headquartered in Detroit, showcased the 2022 Youth Performance Troupe winners as part of the organization’s Citywide Poets after-school program, which provides teens with weekly creative writing workshops, publications, and performance opportunities. Toyota is a major sponsor of the InsideOut Literary Arts organization.
Metro Detroit High School Students Milo Borsodi, Samer Budair, Stella Hughes and Noelle Taylor recited spoken word poetry around “Loving Yourself” and what it means to have “Limitless Possibilities for All.” The Youth Performance Troupe Coach LaShaun phoenix Moore, a Detroit-based vocalist, spoken word artist and culture creator, helped the troupe fine tune their skills and served as program MC. Students from the Alnur Dance Troupe showed off their moves while DJ Bruce Bailey kicked out the tunes. The students were surprised when Toyota gave the Youth Performance Troupe iPad Air tablets so they can creatively continue their writing skills.
“Many people know Toyota as a car company, but we’re so much more than that,” said Bill Shelmon, executive project manager, Advance Product Planning Office, Toyota Motor North America. “We’re focused on educating today’s students to build tomorrow’s leaders. At Toyota, we believe that youth development during non-school hours is needed today more than ever, and it’s vital for high school students to learn 21st century leadership skills that support their academic, career and life goals.”
For over two decades, InsideOut Literary Arts has reached more than 70,000 students in schools throughout Metro Detroit and published nearly 500 school literary journals. Through InsideOut’s programming, 94% of teachers surveyed said it improved student’s writing and critical thinking skills; 80% of InsideOut students demonstrated improved reading comprehension after taking part in the program; and 83% of the InsideOut students said they applied what they learned about writing in other classes. Students have gone on to be journalists, health care workers, entrepreneurs, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights.
“Through the transforming power of the written and spoken word, paired with unique performance opportunities to a diverse range of audiences, students learn that creativity, voice and expression are critical tools that can shift paradigms and change the circumstances that affect their lives,” said Suma Karaman Rosen, executive director, InsideOut Literary Arts. “We are truly grateful to Toyota for supporting our year-long Youth Performance Troupe program.”