Poet Launches Nonprofit to Help At-Risk Youths in Sulphur Springs


Our community is bursting with dedicated residents looking to make a real difference. This fact is underscored by the efforts of local poet Yuki Jackson.

Jackson recently launched a GoFundMe campaign for a nonprofit called Battleground with a fundraising goal of $1,000. The youth program would teach kids rap/poetry and martial arts.

“The Battleground” program is an effort to create value from the culture of physical and lyrical battling that already exists among Sulphur Springs youth. Martial arts and rap/poetry instruction through The Battleground will provide youth with an opportunity to transform their external battling tendencies into winning the battle within themselves.

– Yuki Jackson

Weekly workshops, monthly open mic nights planned

The program would help instill self-esteem through positive self-expression. The successful operation and implementation of The Battleground would see a rap/poetry workshop once a week to a group of 5-7 youth — ages 12-18. Jackson hopes to sponsor a poetry open mic event for all youth in the community once a month, as well.

The Battleground will also provide martial arts instruction twice a week to one group of 6-10 kids — ages 8-18 years old.

Poetry/rap workshops will feature guest presenters and facilitators. Each workshop will include a presentation, distribution of materials supporting the topic, discussion, and time for each participant to craft a poem.

Local professors provide assistance to launch Battleground 

What Jackson needs for the class:

  • One laptop computer as a multimedia teaching resource.
  • Photocopies of poems and rap verses.
  • Books relating to the art of poetry and rap.
  • Folders, notebooks, pens.
  • Light refreshments.

Participation in the workshops will be free. Requirement for participation will include a photocopy of the child’s current report card, signing a code of conduct form and the signing of a parental consent form.

Dr. Erica Dawson, Director of the Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at the University of Tampa and author of 2 collections of poetry, will be on the board of directors for The Battleground.

Dr. Kevin Wang, Criminology Professor at University of South Florida-St.Petersburg, is supporting the program in the form of professional review and the opportunity to recruit volunteers among his Juvenile Justice class students.

Set to begin this August in the community

The first poetry/rap and martial arts classes are set to begin during the week of August 21 in the Sulphur Springs neighborhood.

Visit their website to donate to the program, and to learn more about how it will help better the community.

Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is in his third year as Writer/Editor of ThatsSoTampa.com. New York Times bestselling author Andre Dubus III has said of him, “Andrew Harlan has a sharp and discerning eye for detail that deftly captures character and landscape.” He has published fiction and poetry in Sabal and Prime Number Literary Magazine. He graduated with honors from Eckerd College in 2013 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a minor in Literature. Phone: (727) 896-3435 / Email: andrew@rkc.me