Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Benefit of Meridian Society's Support

What a difference a letter about poetry can make.

In many respects, that idea motivated and guided the development of our “Poetry Correspondence Program,” a letter writing project between participants affiliated with the Black Studies Program and more than 200 middle school and high school students in Alton, East St. Louis, and St. Louis.

For two years now, we’ve sent an increasing number of young letter recipients a series of correspondences about African American poetry. We complement the letters and poetry we send the students with selected images from the Farm Security Administration’s photographs.

This year, we’ve been especially fortunate in expanding the correspondence program thanks to generous support from the Meridian Society, an Illinois-based group of philanthropic women. Each year, the Meridian Society provides financial awards to SIUE-based community outreach programs and projects.

The Society’s support this past year made it possible for us to purchase Langston Hughes books and a series of postcards for our more than 200 letter recipients.

Overall, we’ve learned that letters about poetry can make an important difference, and that difference can become even more significant with additional, generous support like we received from the Meridian Society this year.

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