What is WITS?

Beginning in 1973, WITS has empowered young people across the state of Arkansas by opening doors to self-expression, awareness, articulation, and creative problem-solving—all through the writing and sharing of poetry.

Since its inception, WITS has conducted a total of 1920 2-day workshops, visiting 746 unique schools & institutions in 264 towns & cities across the state of Arkansas. During the 2015 – 2016 schoolyear, WITS visited 35 schools and served approximately 4500 Arkansas students, ranging from grade 3 to grade 12.

Our goal for students: to gain confidence with written and verbal communication skills; to explore new avenues of self-expression and awareness; to critically and creatively engage with the world around them; to be active contributors to their communities’ creative culture; to acknowledge the value of their own observations, singular experiences, and individual voices; to share and learn from one another’s unique perspectives; to pay close attention to language when reading and writing; to take risks in invention and to experiment with creative problem-solving.

The recognition and development of these skills will build a generation of leaders, inventors, and problem-solvers, which is especially important when we’re moving into an economy in which ideas and language carry the most capital value.

WITS works with students and teachers from diverse backgrounds and makes a concerted effort to reach underfunded school districts in under-served parts of the state where the majority of students come from low-income families and are considered “at risk” for dropping out of school.

Arkansas WITS is made possible through a partnership with the University of Arkansas Graduate School and also in part by the schools and institutions we visit, and by the generous support of private donors.

To learn more about how you can support WITS, please click here.