Poetry on the Streets: Melanie Faranello

by | Oct 21, 2021 | Heartivist Of The Week

“Set up on a street corner, at a bus stop, in a park with my Smith-Corona vintage blue typewriter, a jar of words, and some watercolor paints, I never know what to expect or who I will meet. Some approach Poetry on the Streets with trepidation; others dive right in; some decide to trust a stranger and take a risk. But every time, people express feeling better after writing their poems. People connect, share things they’ve never told anyone, laugh, cry, tell stories of their pasts, dreams for their futures. Many surprise themselves at their abilities and reflections. People write in their native languages; they write to one another, to long lost friends; they write for themselves. They take it with them or they leave it behind for others to read. Many who’ve never written a poem, or say they can’t, do. Each encounter, pausing to express, create, connect, changes something. And then we go on our way a little lighter.” 

-Melanie Pappadis Faranello

Melanie is a teaching artist in Hartford, CT where she works with underserved youth and teens teaching creative writing. She developed Poetry on the Streets as a project that would serve the greater diverse public in her community. Poetry on the Streets’ (POTS) is a public art project designed to engage communities in creative self-expression, connect people through the poetry of everyday life, and share the words of people from different walks of life to promote compassion and greater understanding of one another.

As a writer and educator with a passion for connecting people through their creative expressions and breaking down boundaries between diverse populations, Melanie wanted to highlight our common human experience through poetry. Each of her poets pick a word from Melanie’s “jar of emotions,” which they use to compose a short poem right there on the spot. In 2018, she received a seed grant from The Pollination Project to help purchase supplies, build a website, and hold a gallery exhibition of the poems collected through her project. 

“The support from TPP was invaluable,” she shared. “It helped me with my project on so many levels–financially, emotionally, professionally, and personally. Being connected to a wider network of change makers around the world was so inspiring and helped me feel validated and encouraged. Oftentimes, this work is done alone and can feel isolating, so having TPP at my back, gave me a boost of courage and confidence as well as opened doors.”

Since receiving that original seed funding, Melanie held the gallery show. She also built a partnership with the local transit authority to create “The Poetry Bus,” which saw CT Transit bus #1732 display excerpts of poetry about freedom, equality, and peace written by her creative writing students from “Hartford Young Writers” and “Word Up for Teens”. Most recently, “Poetry on the Streets” will be taking over a local vacant storefront, transforming it into a living poetry exhibit. 

In the future, Melanie plans other public displays of poetry, along with travel to other cities beyond Hartford. She hopes to one day publish a book of photographs and poetry collected throughout her project. 

“Everyone has a poem inside,” Melanie believes. “Everyone has a story.” 

Poetry on the Streets

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It's Volunteer Month! 🌟 🌟 🌟 Today we celebrate our grant advisors working on Economic Development focus area.

By meticulously selecting projects for our seed grants, they're not just funding ideas—they're empowering communities and sparking transformative change. 

Join us in celebrating their invaluable efforts and the positive impact they're creating together!

🔸 Eric Anorrey (Ghana)
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🔸 Emily Logiron Asekon (Kenya)
🔸 Georgia Bernbaum (USA) 
🔸 Herve Tsoala Kuete (Cameroon)
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The Green Earth Initiative (#Cameroon) is a project dedicated to educating and empowering students about climate change, sustainable development, and environmental challenges, that has received a seed grant from The Pollination Project in 2023. With a focus on fostering environmental protection and conservation, the initiative establishes Eco-clubs and Environment Clubs in schools, providing students with the tools to learn, engage, and take action in their communities.

Since receiving the grant from TPP, the Green Earth Initiative has expanded its reach, now encompassing 9 additional schools across two regions/cities, surpassing its initial goal of 5. 
This expansion was made possible by the overwhelming interest from school authorities and the growing number of volunteers and team members.

Through the support of TPP and other partners, the project's environmental education programs, awareness campaigns, and initiatives have impacted over 8000 students in two cities of Cameroon. Additionally, the initiative has planted over 600 trees, launched 5 Environment/Eco Clubs, and distributed over 150 adapted waste bins produced from recycled plastics, contributing to proper waste management practices.

The seed grant from The Pollination Project has been instrumental in catalyzing the growth and success of the Green Earth Initiative, enabling it to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and communities, while fostering a culture of environmental stewardship and sustainability. 

@isec_cameroon 
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It's Volunteer's Month!!! 🌟 Celebrating our family of Grant Advisors 🌟

With 80 grant advisors, all experts in their respective fields and many of them former grantees, The Pollination Project is powered by a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their service is not only precious but also essential, as they bring unique insights and understanding to the application process, ensuring that resources are allocated where they can have the greatest impact. 

🎉 Today we celebrate our incredible grant advisors in the HEALTH & WHOLENESS focus area! 

🔸 Ben Kilama (Uganda) 
🔸 Kosa Jimmy (Uganda) 
🔸 Marina Haque (USA) 
🔸 John Ebong (Nigeria) 
🔸 Nzayisenga Emmanuel (Canada)
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Our heartfelt gratitude to these dedicated individuals for their invaluable contributions 🙏

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