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Muskegon Heights poetry camp provides kids a healthy outlet for mental health

The camp is free for kids to participate in. Healthy meals will be provided to nourish both mind and body.

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — From July 11-15, The Diatribe Inc will be hosting a poetry camp with the goal of teaching children a healthy outlet to express themselves. 

It's the second year in a row the group has put on the camp. Organizers say the 2021 program stretched over 9 weeks, causing them to condense everything for this year into just one. 

"We wanted to provide a platform for the youth of Muskegon county to have a way to express themselves," said one of the camp's leaders Gemini DaPoet. "A safe place within the diatribe as well as in their notebook to openly express themselves unapologetically in a healthy way."

DaPoet believes poetry will allow kids to find understanding of both themselves and their community. She referred to rap as poetry with a beat and hopes kids find the healing in it like she did.

"I was a teenage mother, I had teachers who wrote me off and said I wouldn’t be successful, I’d be another statistic." DaPoet said. "I use that to let the kids know that your past is preparing you for your future."

It's more than just pen and paper. It will provide healthy meals to each kid attending. Country Cooking, a husband and wife duo will be cooking fresh meals, which DaPoet says will feed spirits and add an extra element to the week.

"As adults we have been programmed to say stay in a child's place, you haven’t lived life yet," Said Kaisen Kabir, one of the camp's leaders.  "They have–they go through the same things we go through." 

Kabir says listening to kids is just as important as teaching them. Showing them the adults in the community care and have true investment in their future is something he thinks will make a lasting impact. It's what he calls 'reach one, teach one.'

A final performance will be held for the community to attend at the conclusion of the weeklong camp. It's scheduled for July 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Pathfinders Muskegon. 

The camp is free and DaPoet's goal is to include as many kids as possible. Registration will still be open once camp starts. If interested in signing your child up, reach out to her via email at Gemini.DaPoet@yahoo.com.

It will take place from 1 to 2:45 p.m. at Mahali in Muskegon Heights.

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