When Urban Word NYC speaks about literacy, we’re not only talking about reading and writing, but also about the knowledge of self, community and society — all of which affects a young person’s life.

The students who work with us have the rare and profound opportunity to explore the ways that they see themselves and present their stories through writing, poetry and spoken word. This reflection and response — focused on critical engagement, then creative self-expression — is key to the positive development of the next generation of leaders, artists, scholars and activists.

College acceptance rate99%

We boast a 99% college acceptance rate for youth enrolled in our college prep programs.

Earned scholarships92%

92% of youth enrolled who enrolled in our college prep programs earned full or partial scholarships.

Revenue directly for the youth85%

Urban Word NYC spends 85% of all revenue on direct service programs for youth.

Our beliefs

We believe that free self-expression — matured in an enhanced critical literacy environment — improves self-confidence and strengthens educational achievement for NYC’s inner city youth. We promote active literacy, critical thought, and positive social dialogue across boundaries of age, race, class, gender, culture, and sexuality. Many of our workshops are designed to enhance critical thinking skills, leadership, and to ignite a personal commitment to growth and learning which leads to heightened in-school performance, and greater interest in pursuing higher education.

key programming areas

Creative Writing
Professional Development

Urban Word NYC gives young men and women one of the
greatest skills
we can teach our young people — how to communicate effectively and engage with the human experience.
Bill De Blasio, Mayor of New York City