Los Angeles/ Arts & Culture
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 23, 2024
Long Beach Names Helena Donato-Sapp as Its 2024 Youth Poet Laureate Amidst Cultural CelebrationSource: City of Long Beach

Long Beach has crowned its second Youth Poet Laureate, Helena Donato-Sapp, a high school wunderkind hailed for her poignant poetry and civic mind. The announcement hit the stage May 9 at the Edison Theater, amidst fanfare and cheers for up-and-coming literary talent.

Mayor Rex Richardson was on hand, painting the event with praise for the city's insightful youth. "Helena and the Poet Ambassadors represent the future of Long Beach," he said, confident in their ability to "inspire positive change through their words and actions." The Long Beach Public Library's Youth Poet Laureate program, now in its second year, punches above its weight, encouraging youngsters to wield words for activism and impact.

Donato-Sapp stood out for her dexterous dive into social justice themes, carving a name for herself both locally and internationally. The teen has also snagged the title of youngest ever appointed City Commissioner for the City of Long Beach's Commission for Women and Girls, as noted by an official press release.

Acknowledging her predecessor, Claire Beeli, Donato-Sapp expressed deep appreciation for the roadmap laid out before her. "I am so grateful to be the 2024 Youth Poet Laureate of the City of Long Beach," she said, reflecting on the experience gained as a previous Youth Poet Ambassador. Alongside her, five selected Poet Ambassadors also prepare to wield influence through verse and community engagement, each securing a $500 scholarship, while Donato-Sapp bags a grand $1,500.

The Youth Poet Laureate program weaves a rich tapestry of literary artistry and proactive citizenship, said Cathy De Leon, Director of Library Services. It promises to be "a celebration of youth at the intersection of artistic excellence and civic engagement," ensuring that the initiative grows its roots within the community. With a year of mentorship and collaborative projects on the horizon, the program aims to script a new chapter in Long Beach's cultural story.

For updates on the exploits of Helena Donato-Sapp and her poetic peers, or for more details on Long Beach's diverse offerings like the iconic Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific, head to the city's website or browse the Long Beach Public Library's online presence for a literary fix.