KALW-FM (SAN FRANCISCO) -- More than 20 years ago, writer and educator James Kass was in graduate school at San Francisco State University. He had a small idea: a writing workshop for city teens.
Kass felt that youth, especially youth of color, were being misunderstood by the larger culture, and he wanted to give them an outlet to speak for themselves. He had no idea how big that idea would get.
Today, his organization Youth Speaks serves about 200,000 young people nationwide every year. Programs range from the original poetry writing and performance workshops to theater productions and partnerships with investigative journalists.