Spark House provides high-quality arts education programs and professional development to youth, staff, and administrators in schools and non-traditional learning settings. Rooted in youth development framework, we facilitate experiences that empower youth voices in settings where these opportunities traditionally do not exist.
Spark House profoundly engages youth by igniting creative self-expression and promoting rigorous literacy in schools and non-traditional learning settings.
Spark House Founder, Najee Omar, is a Brooklyn-based writer, performer, and educator using poetry and performance to engage communities. Impacting thousands of youth in schools, jails, and juvenile justice facilities, Najee cultivates spaces of youth-led activism and freedom.
Since 2011, Najee has participated in a number of spoken word and creative writing residencies in partnership with New York City and Los Angeles Public Schools. In 2014, he co-conceived & co-facilitated curriculum for a pilot program exclusively designed for black male high school students. This initiative supported mental wellness, academic and cultural enrichment, employment readiness, and economic empowerment, with poetry as the point-of-access.
With the profound belief that young people, everywhere, deserve to have their voices affirmed, Najee seeks access to working with young people in alternative spaces and began conducting poetry workshops for youth in challenging, non-school settings. Having worked at sites including Rikers Island, Crossroads & Horizon Juvenile Centers, and Good Shepherd Services, Najee recognizes art & literature as vital tools to creating safe-space in alternative learning settings.
To-date, Najee continues to draw from these experiences and commits himself to facilitating opportunities where young people can claim ownership of their voices, bodies, and communities, one poem at a time.
A Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop Fellow, Najee’s selected readings and features include the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Spoken Word Paris, Black Lives Matter Teach-in at Pratt Institute and a host of other colleges and universities across the United States. Najee’s poetry has been featured in Anna Deveare Smith’s MATTERING: an arts forum, Tastevin Magazine, and online publications including Poets & Writers Magazine, Beats, Frames & Life, and Russell Simmons’ All Def Poetry.
Want to learn more about Najee? Visit www.najeeomar.com or follow him on social media at @najeeomar!