Poetry Heals


Danyla (alias) is a senior at Evanston High School, a participant in Family Focus Evanston’s after-school programs, and an accomplished writer and poet. She has been involved with Family Focus since she was a toddler, when her mother received services. Due to medical issues in her early life, Danyla struggled academically and socially and struggled to make friends and fit in with her peers.

Through participating in Evanston’s after school programs, Danyla was able to connect with Ms. Beth, our resident writer/poet extraordinaire, and find her voice! She took off running, and was able to express her struggles and her pain – particularly the loss of her mother and father.

Through writing and the Evanston Poetry group, Danyla was able to escape family issues and distractions, and describe life as she saw it. She began participating in poetry slams and writing contents, and found the courage to express herself.

Danyla wants to become a writer and teach poetry to youth, and is also an activist for the arts and self-expression. She hopes to attend Columbia College in Chicago to expand her writing skills, and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou.

You never think that what happens in after school programming can spark an interest, a desire and a life long goal of making it as a successful writer or any other passion that a young person might have.

Family Focus is enormously proud of what this young woman is becoming, and to have played a part in overcoming the many obstacles in her way. She embodies the motto that is so often heard in Evanston: “I Am Somebody, I Am Somebody, and I Got the Brains to Be Somebody!”

A sampler of Danyla’s amazing poems written while at Family Focus (ages 7 through 11):

The sound nothing but the wind swaying
then anger burst through the door about to kick someone
sadness as the rain taps against the window pain
confusion as the blank piece of paper sits in front of you
scariness as the creepy clown knocking on the door
then Boom
silence, nothing but the sound of your breath ~D

You have so much around you.
You go so many places.
You see so many things.
You smell so much stuff.
You hear so much.
You eat stuff. You have a place to live.
You have so many people in your life.
and you don’t decide not to praise it.
You should praise what’s around you.
You should praise that you go places.
You should praise that you can see.
You should praise that you can smell.
You should praise that you can hear.
You should praise that.
You should praise that you have a place to live.
You should praise that you have people in your life.
all these senses. ~D

On the screen I see a white rose falling from the sun to the ground.
Then it changed to the baby you see on baby powder.
It changed again to a white sandy beach with the breeze blowing the sand. ~D

I will write till the end of all the time.
with a passion, a passion for writing.
I will write till the end of existence.
with the power to write.
I will write till the end of the galaxy.
with the glamour to write.
I will write till the end of time.
I am powerful. I am glamorous. I am a writer. ~D

Thank you clouds for giving us pictures in the sky.
One day you fill the sky, the next you’re clearer than a glass.
Like bright sun shines through you, you brighten up my day.
Love, D

White Sky with Black Wires
The whitest sky I every saw
Wires that stretch out all across the world
A truck the same color as the sky ~D

Click below to learn more about the impact of Evanston’s poetry group!