Jacinta V. White / founder & facilitator
After experiencing the sudden passing of her father, Jacinta -- who, months prior had her first poem published (Young Detroiter, 1996), found poetry to be her "life-line." She says poetry took on a different meaning for her -- helping her process the pain and grief. Years later, Jacinta started The Word Project (TWP) as a way to provide urban youth a safe space to share their complex stories through poetry. Today, TWP has expanded its reach, and works with those of all ages and walks of life.
A graduate in speech communications from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1994), Jacinta began her career as a public relations professional. She parlayed those skills with her love for the nonprofit sector, and after receiving her MPA in Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University (2000),
Jacinta worked in the field of resource development and event planning for several Atlanta-based nonprofits. In 2005,
Jacinta returned to NC to focus on her passion: TWP. She has studied Poetry Therapy with Dr. Sherry Reiter of the Creative Righting Center in NY, and has worked alongside renowned poetry therapist and author, John Fox.
As director of TWP, Jacinta leads countless workshops and trainings; is called upon as keynote speaker for programs; serves as a consultant to non-profits; and has been a consultant for many initiatives such as LifeVerse and Building Common Ground. She was also the 2012 & 2013 Coordinator for the NC Poetry Out Loud Competition, a judge for the 2014 NC Poetry Out Loud Competition, and a judge for the 2012 Guilford County & 2014 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County High School Poet Laureate contests. Jacinta is also recognized as a NC Arts Council Teaching Artist.
But Jacinta's work doesn't stop at poetry. She's also called upon as an artist facilitator working with such groups like EMC Arts in NY, UNC School of the Arts, and the Kenan Institute for the Arts in NC.
Jacinta's chapbook, broken ritual, was released by Finishing Line Press in 2012, and her new collection of poems is due in 2019. Other works include: poetry in Prime Number Magazine (2014), What Matters Anthology (Jacar Press, 2013), Press 53 Open Awards Anthology (2008) as its first prize winner, contributor to My Soul to His Spirit: Soulful Writings of African American Daughters to Their Fathers (SoulDictates, 2005), and editor of Walking With God (Duncan & Duncan, 1996). See more here.
In 2015, Jacinta founded Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing -- one of the leading journals on art and healing. To read more about Jacinta's experience as a poet facilitator, click here.
Contact Jacinta via email here.
Benji Anderson / program director
Benji Anderson is an artist, theologian and philosopher – three identities that suffered separate existences for much of Benji’s life. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, his early cultural learnings taught him that it was not only prudent, but necessary to compartmentalize his identities. Surprisingly, it was through his academic journey that Benji began to fully exist as a being capable of complex, and seemingly contradictory identity. As a Master of Divinity student, Benji embarked on a process of deep self-excavation, which, upon completion of his degree, provided him with the license to live authentically.
As theologian and philosopher, Benji is concerned with the quality and depth of life. As artist, Benji concerns himself with the creative expression of his theosophical existence. Ultimately, he finds his life’s greatest purpose in his work with youth; directing programs that provide a safe-space for youth to discover their identity – through community building, establishing healthy relationships and critical self-reflection – all within a framework of social justice and cultural awareness.
Prior to joining The Word Project, Benji served in various positions including:
Contact Benji via email here.