Spoken-word program at South Side Academy aims to decrease substance abuse


For much of his young life, LaVon Shepherd aspired to be a basketball player, but his penchant for writing – and having suffered from bullying – radically altered his priorities.

“I’ve loved basketball, but I’ve taken writing to a different level,” the 16-year-old Cleveland ninth-grader explained. “I’d love to take poetry to be a profession – to go beyond the sky with it, to go beyond the stars.”

LaVon has already gone beyond merely getting the attention of a young audience when he recited “Creep,” a poem he wrote that talks about the corrosive effects of bullying. Specifically, he read the poem to students of South Side Academy, 1400 Oak Hill Ave., as part of a spoken-word program Friday morning to encourage young people to make positive choices while avoiding drugs and alcohol.

The event was part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s National Prevention Week efforts geared toward decreasing substance abuse in youth.

Read more about the event in Saturday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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