One in 14 children in the US has a parent who is or has been in prison, yet their pain, loss and isolation is largely invisible. POPS the Club creates a safe and creative space for these kids. Each year we publish a book of the poetry, stories and artwork created by POPS students. Our book launch each year showcases these artists and writers performing their work onstage. The event is healing for our community, empowers POPS teens, and breaks down the cycle of invisibility.
The impact of mass incarceration is experienced not only by those who are incarcerated, but by those left behind, a "shared sentence." Many young people struggle with stigma and shame, and they become silent as a result. POPS the Club's publishing program celebrates their strength, encourages their voices and visions, and invites parents, educators, and community members to learn from their wisdom.
The mission of POPS is to transform shame and stigma into hope and dignity. A book is a powerful thing, especially for youth who have felt voiceless. Experts in childhood trauma find that trauma is dramatically lessened when it can be openly discussed. Through our publishing/performance program, teens hone their skills of self expression, empowered by their own stories. At POPS, we know that under the right circumstances, with the right tools, pain can become power.
POPS just celebrated its six-year anniversary and in those years has grown from a club at one high school in Southern California to 14 clubs nationwide, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Maryland, and New York. POPS is working hard to meet the need across the country--and the larger and stronger we become, the more likely it is these advocates will make a difference in the way our nation misunderstands and misrepresents those hobbled by our addiction to incarceration.