This weekend, the Deep Center will be hosting their annual fundraising festival Deep in the Streets. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Deep began as an after school program dedicated to “addressing the detrimental effects of poverty on literacy in Savannah,” the organization’s Deputy Director, Louise Tremblay said.

“Deep has been working in Savannah since 2008 when we were founded by two local writers who came together and founded Deep as an opportunity for young people to write and present their own stories.”

 

After launching the Deep in the Streets event last year to celebrate the organizations' 10th anniversary, Tremblay said they decided to make it an annual event.

“Last year was more focused on the first decade of our growth, and experiences, and bringing people back into the fold who used to be investors in our work. This year, it’s really just a party. We want to get together people who know and love our work, or who are just starting to learn what we do and have a fabulous opportunity to connect, and share, and eat great food, and be out under the stars enjoying our community because we have great people in Savannah and great people who support Deep.”

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The event will feature music by Jose Ray as well as food from local vendors like Tequila's Town, Green Truck Pub and Crystal Beer Parlor as well as sweet treats from Analog Public House. For the adults in attendance, there will be beer offerings from Two Tides Brewing as well as margaritas made by Tequila's Town bartenders.

While Deep founded it roots in programs like the Young Author Project and Block by Block which bring teaching artists into the classroom to aid young authors in their writing and literacy skills directly, the groups organizers have recognized from its origin that the solution to the literacy issue in Savannah is much larger than teaching reading and writing skills to school-aged children. The organization’s newly founded Action Research Team recently ran a school to prison pipeline simulation attended by local politicians, judges, police officers and members of the school board.

“The Action Research Team is a group of select young people, who have been doing research and starting to learn about advocacy work in their community," Tremblay said. "They did some of the work around the school to prison pipeline event and helped to create a really amazing simulation that we just did last week at our policy launch. The youth are really learning a lot and working to teach the rest of us a lot about some of the forces that impact young people in Savannah, particularly the school to prison pipeline and the challenges of getting mental health services for young people in Savannah, where we have a real gap between the demand for services and the supply of available services.”

“Deep is a way for me to express my feelings and be myself,” Ayanna, a senior at Robert W. Groves High School, said. The center's policy is to only share the first name and school of its participants.

“I love Deep because here I feel confident to say what I think, what I like and I don’t,” Suani, a sophomore at Groves, added. “For me,” Mariana, a junior at Groves, said. “Deep has become a relaxing space where I can forget about my outside problems.”

“Here it’s okay to let your thoughts roam,” Marissa, a senior in Deep’s Young Author Project, said. “just let your pencil set them free.”

Editor's Note: The author of this story is an employee with the Deep Center.