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The Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word 


The Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word (DGSW) is performance arts-based program that uses poetry to develop positive personal and social outcomes for the young men in the troupe.  The benefits of this art form includes the development of literacy skills, positive self-identity, confidence in self, and fraternal relationships.


Further, the DGSW design promotes the development of a whole person.  Though academic success is a primary focal point, the DGSW approach integrates skills from writing and performing to brotherhood, community pride and responsibility and altruism.  The culture of poetry and its instructional format not only is engaging to youth from high risk environments, but it also has the ability to retain their interest.


DGSW is designed to offer its members a plethora of social, cultural and life empowering attributes, the following details some of the specifics:




  • Availability and involvement of strong supportive people

  • Develops constructive peer and mentor relations through teamwork,

  • Clear and consistent social norms

  • Working in an environment that features clear roles and responsibilities

  • Involvement with positive peer activities

  • Perception of support from adults and peers



  • Health conscious beliefs and  moral value standards

  • Positive and resilient temperaments

  • Positive self-concept and confidence

  • Realistic self-appraisal



  • Social competencies

  • Understands and knows how to deal with racism

  • Understands how to set goals for immediate needs or short and long term

  • Understands how to make tangible contributions to the group and the community

  • Enhanced technological competence



  • Use of artistic expressions that attempt to convey messages

  • Empowered abilities to imagine and articulate thoughts

  • Creative problem solving skills



  • High expectations of them from adults in their lives (e.g., staff, parents, teachers, etc.)

  • High expectations of them from their brothers in the group and other peers

  • High expectation of them of themselves.




Through their journal, scheduled and sometimes impromptu rap sessions students bring their own stories and emphasize how writing poetry has given them a sense of themselves and has inspired them to push harder to communicate their lives to their peers.


In the process, they have opened up to writing and have begun to see themselves as writers, an identity that gives them confidence.”  Evidence of their skills and talents of expressionistic arts can be viewed in their first book and CD of poetry entitled “Silent Screams”.  The current members are working on the second editions.

Please complete our youth program form and submit to Cleveland UMADAOP. 

A staff member will contact you within 24 hours.

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