Inside Out, a program hosted in several schools throughout Detroit to meet the demand of exposing students to poetry, began in 1995.

East English Village’s Writer in Residence Ben Alfaro begin working for Inside Out in 2008 when he was just 18 years old.

“I was excited, and felt I could relate to the students because of our shared experience,” said Alfaro, who graduated from Wayne State University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies.

Inside Out gives students a chance to express themselves through writing by telling their stories and getting their voice heard. His goal isn’t that everyone becomes a professional writer, but it’s to help everyone find their voice through poetry.

“I love seeing young people who start the program that are shy, hesitant or don’t like writing, through time and through practice they start to find their voice and realize they have those possibilities to tell their stories,” Alfaro said.

“Many students learn best through poetry which allows them to be expressive. Poetry is an important educational tool.”