On Wednesday, March 23, 2011, Dr. Sheila Siobhan gave in to a sudden illness and passed away. For almost 10 years, Sheila had been the major force in Central Texas programs that use youth poetry to encourage literacy, self expression and personal growth. In 2007, she and her daughter, the late Shannon Leigh, created the Texas Youth Word Collective (TXYWC), a nonprofit that engages local youth in spoken word and fosters their development as writers and artists.
In 2008, Sheila's daughter Shannon passed away in a tragic accident. She was 20 years old. Shannon was an award-winning and beloved spoken word artist who had performed all over the world.
When Shannon passed, Sheila selflessly continued the work they started together - to help more young people find their voices in poetry and a community they could call home.
Among their most ambitious projects together, Shannon, Sheila and their volunteers would raise money to sponsor a team to travel to and participate in the Brave New Voices National Youth Poetry Festival and Slam, which takes place in a different US city each July. This year the festival will be in San Francisco. Even prior to founding TXYWC, Sheila had taken an Austin youth team to Nationals every year since 2003. The young people who were planning to attend this year have been honing their craft and performing for years to achieve their dream of participating in Brave New Voices. After Sheila's passing, the poetry community of Austin has banded together to support these aspiring artists in reaching their goals, but we desperately need your help.
In order to attend, the team needs to raise over $6000 by June to cover the costs of travel, accommodations and registration for the event. We have already received a generous $1000 from an individual donor in the poetry community to help us pay for registration fees for the team... However, we've still got a long way to go and your support would mean a lot to us and to these incredibly talented kids!
Texas Youth Word Collective is a 501(c)3 organization and all donations are fully tax-deductible.
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