We all have stories to tell, but for these students, telling it may be the key to their success.
Spoken in rhyme, Get Lit presents teen with opportunity to express their frustration, joy and thoughts on life through poetry. By entering the lyrical world, these students are able to verbalize and escape the trials of everyday life and envision a different future.
It all began back in 2006 when teacher and literary coach Dian Luby Lane started the program in a South Central Los Angeles high school. Coming from a low-income community herself, Lane wanted to show her students that there is a hope for a better future. So she introduced them to the world that saved her: books and poetry.
Since then, Get Lit has expanded to other schools and communities in order to show at-risk teens that there is hope. Through curriculums taught at high schools and in communities, Get Lit uses poetry to instill confidence and show the value of self-expression. Students who participate learn not only to read poetry, but also to write and perform it, reports Good.
The curriculum includes classical, spoken word and canonical poems from Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound to Langston Hughes.
Get Lit is more than just a class, though. It’s also a traveling troupe of performers known as the Get Lit Players, which performs famous compositions, as well as originals. During their travels last November, the Get Lit Players found themselves on The Queen Latifah Show where a video of their performance went viral.

One member of the troupe is 18-year-old Kyland Turner, a senior with aspirations to work in television and movies.
“[Get Lit] came to my school and someone did a poem about a father son relationship and it spoke to me and my struggles so I decided to get involved,” Turner tells The Queen Latifah Show. “Since joining Get Lit I have turned my grades around and now I’m looking and applying to colleges, something I never thought I would have a chance at doing two years ago. They saved me in so many ways; I owe my life to Get Lit.”
Currently, Get Lit has a pilot program in Washington, D.C., and it’s also working in coordination with After School All-Stars, a program offering after-school programs to almost 90,000 students. The organization is currently holding a fundraising campaign with the hope of further expansion.
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