On Friday, Feb. 13, Po'Shines Cafe De La Soul, North Portland's non-profit soul food cafe, will begin hosting Cornbred, a weekly spoken word and open mic night from 8 – 10 p.m. for youth readers and performers.
Focusing on youth in middle and high school, Cornbred will provide a much needed positive forum for youth to express themselves and create a community of young artists.
Since they opened their doors in the summer of 2007 with a staff of determined volunteers, Po'Shines: Cafe de la Soul has been very active in its mission to be a business that empowers the community.
One of their first moves was to become a partner in the Teach Me to Fish program, an initiative designed specifically to empower at-risk and troubled youth within the greater Portland area by providing guided training in job, life and performing arts skills.
In addition to their training program, Po'Shines hosts many community events encouraging community dialogue and expression such as free Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, live art events, community cleanups and much more.
This past fall, the cafe partnered with Write Around Portland to host a weekly writing workshop for youth writers in the area.
During the eight week workshop, the participants forged a bond through writing and sharing, and became inspired to continue the camaraderie and extend the opportunity to more of their peers.
Cornbred will serve as that opportunity, an event not only for youth, but organized by youth as well. A team of youth will be involved in everything from the creative direction, the marketing, the production and hosting of the event.
"In working with a lot of young people in our community, we are increasingly aware of the hunger that they have for a place to express themselves," says Mackenzie Doyle, a general manager at Po'Shines. "We are very excited to be able to offer our cafe as a place of creative refuge for a burdened and misunderstood generation of youth."
"At Write Around Portland we have found that creative writing is a strong catalyst to help youth discover the value inside themselves, contribute that value in positive ways to the community, and be recognized for their contribution," says Dawn Thompson, program coordinator for Write Around Portland. "Cornbred is an exciting opportunity for youth writers to share their unique voices and an opportunity for all of us to respect and hear the important writing they have to share."
Although Cornbred has a youth focus, they do welcome older performers on a featured basis.
The cafe will provide a free piece of corn bread to all guests at the event, and will feature a menu that caters to the limited finances of middle and high schoolers.
The cafe is located at 8189 N. Denver Ave. For more information visit www.poshines.com or call 503.978.9000.