Poet Mentor

Job Type

Full Time


Minimum: $45,000
Maximum: $50,000



Application Deadline



1663 Mission Street
Suite 604
San Francisco
United States


ABOUT YOUTH SPEAKS:​ Youth Speaks is a multi-faceted organization that understands that the power, insight,

creativity, and passion of young people can change the world. Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Youth Speaks

is the leading nonprofit presenter of Spoken Word performance, education, and youth development programs in

the country. Presenters of local and national youth poetry slams, festivals, reading series, and more, Youth

Speaks also offers a comprehensive slate of literary arts education programs during the school day, in the

after-school hours, on weekends and evenings. All told, Youth Speaks provides free arts education to tens of

thousands of teens per year in the San Francisco Bay Area alone, and has helped create partner programs in

over 125 cities across the United States. Youth Speaks annually convenes the Brave New Voices Festival. For

more information, visit www.youthspeaks.org.

OVERVIEW: ​The Poet Mentor position will provide a talented individual with the opportunity to work closely with a

strong, diverse staff in the field of arts education, creative youth development, civic engagement, and artistic

presentation. The Poet Mentor will demonstrate 2-5 years of experience and a deep knowledge of youth

development, curriculum development, and Youth Speaks’ pedagogy. In collaboration with the Youth Speaks

Program Director, Associate Directors, Lead Poet Mentor(s), and Emerging Poet Mentors, the Poet Mentor will be

responsible for the successful planning, execution, oversight, and review of Youth Speaks’ programs. Additionally,

the Poet Mentor may be asked to support specific projects throughout the year on an as-needed basis.

The Poet Mentor will report to a Associate/Program Director and work primarily from our San Francisco office and

in Oakland on Fridays, with frequent travel to our school and community partners throughout the Bay Area. This

role will require evening and occasional weekend work to participate in local community meetings and events,

open mics and slams, and other Youth Speaks’ public events.

JOB DESCRIPTION:​ ​The Poet Mentor supports Youth Speaks Bay Area Programs as a teaching artist. The

Poet Mentor will facilitate in-school and after school workshops for youth between the ages of 13-19. This

position will also participate in Youth Speaks Signature Programs: Teen Poetry Slam, District Poetry Slam,

Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King, Queeriosity, MC Olympics, and Life is Living. It is the Poet Mentors’

duty to model artistic excellence and community engagement.



Poet Mentor for High School Residency Sites

● Facilitate writing and performance workshops at Bay Area High Schools for our Residency Program

● Exemplify Youth Speaks’ pedagogy while being responsive to the needs of students and their partner

teacher in the classroom

● Provide a direct pathway for constituent participation into integrated Bay Area programs

● Participate in Residency meetings with Poet Mentor staff to discuss topics such as curriculum,

recruitment, retention, grant reporting, and more

Poet Mentor at After School Writing and Performance Workshops

● Design curriculum and facilitate weekly (2-hour sessions) After School Workshops that reflect the Youth

Speaks pedagogy and deepen constituent’s engagement with the art form of spoken word and their

understandings of themselves and each other

● Create a student recruitment plan that ensures diversified participation by Bay Area youth

● Provide direct pathways for constituent participation in Bay Area Programs

● Participate in weekly After School Workshop meetings with Poet Mentor staff to discuss and troubleshoot

topics such as curriculum, recruitment, retention, grand reporting, and more

In-School Engagement and Outreach Strategy

● Communicate the details of upcoming school visits with the Emerging Poet Mentors and ensure that

curation, staffing and transportation to school visits are set

● Serve as the primary, on-the-ground Youth Speaks Lead and the occasional host/performer during

School Visits and community booking requests

● Work closely in collaboration with administrative team members, who will handle all booking requests and

back-end MOU, invoice, and payment processes

● Assist in cultivating the circular pipeline between Youth Speaks’ programming and the School Visit

Program by assisting in the artistic development of current youth participants and recruiting alumni and

eligible youth participants to join the School Visit team


SPOKES, Youth Advisory Board

● Adult staff support at 2nd & Final Friday Open Mics in San Francisco + Oakland


● Collaborate with the Program Director to build and execute a strategy to continue growing and cultivating

the Brave New Voices Festival

The following is a list of additional programs the Poet Mentor supports throughout the year:

● Bringing the Noise for Martin Luther King

● Teen Poetry Slam

● District Poetry Slam

● Queeriosity

● First Sound Pedagogical Institute

● Friendraiser

Performance Review and Professional Development: ​Feedback is a vital part of your success at Youth

Speaks—coaching for performance excellence will take place regularly throughout the year. As necessary,

feedback will be summarized via email on occasions where performance improvement goals are set. Poet

Mentors will follow a work plan throughout their year to gauge their own progress and success. The work plan

development process begins in June of the prior program year and is typically finalized by August 1st (time frame

to change based on hire date) - at the beginning of the new program year. The benchmarks for success will be

measured against this document for the duration of the program year.

Career Development is an important aspect of your time at Youth Speaks. The organization is committed to investing in our team and ensuring all staff are given sufficient, ongoing training to assure that the work produced

is of the highest quality and in keeping with evolving creative youth development practices. We encourage all

staff to pursue professional development opportunities, and although funding by Youth Speaks is not guaranteed for all outside trainings, small professional development budgets are allotted to each employee at the start of the fiscal year

EEO/AA: ​Youth Speaks is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage and seek applications from

women, people of color, bilingual and bicultural individuals, as well as members of the LGBTQIA communities.

Applicants shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age,

disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, or medical conditions.

Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application

process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.

Qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of San Francisco’s Fair

Chance Ordinance will be considered for employment.


Salary & Benefits: ​The Poet Mentor is a full-time, exempt position. We offer a competitive salary and an

excellent benefits package including 100% employee coverage for medical, dental, and vision insurance, life and

disability insurance, a 401(k) plan, and commuter benefits. Employees receive four weeks of paid vacation and

ample, paid sick time, annually.

Level of Language Proficiency


Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply


Please send a thoughtful cover letter and resume, both in PDF format, to employment@youthspeaks.org with

“Lead Poet Mentor” in the subject line by Friday August 3rd, 2018. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We

respectfully request no phone calls.