Daybreak Youth Reveal Inner Poets

The young poets relax with judges Tom Maultsby (back row left), A.J. Wagner (center left), and Kathy Hooks (front left) after presenting their poetry. The young poets relax with judges Tom Maultsby (back row left), A.J. Wagner (center left), and Kathy Hooks (front left) after presenting their poetry.

Daybreak’s Coffee House continues to give our young clients opportunities to express themselves. Starting in January, poetry was a focus at Coffee House gatherings, with the goal of hosting a poetry competition—commonly known as a poetry slam—at the end of March.

Each week at Coffee House, the kids read or recited their original poems and were judged by their peers. This audition process narrowed the field to 10 finalists. On the evening of March 25, Coffee House presented its first-ever poetry slam to an enthusiastic audience of Daybreak clients and employees.

The panel of three judges included J. Thomas Maultsby, Jr. and Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge A.J. Wagner, both local published poets. Daybreak’s own Kathy Hooks, Director of Youth Services, also served as a judge.

The 10 young poets were judged on content, creativity, engaging the audience, stage presence, confidence, technique, and overall presentation using a numeric scale from one (lowest) to five. Matthew received the highest score and first place for his poem entitled “ real world.” Anthony and Raney tied for second place. Each of the young men was awarded a $50 Walmart gift card.

Although only the youth were eligible to win prizes, they weren’t the only performers that night. Mr. Maultsby and Judge Wagner each read one of their own poems, and three Daybreak employees provided musical entertainment between acts. The kids appreciated their “coaches” participation and are already looking forward to the next poetry slam.