Youth Voices Event


The first event of the “Starting a New Life: Dowagiac’s Orphan Train Story” project was Youth Voices, which was held May 20 at the Beckwith Theater Company. Students from Ross Beatty Junior/Senior High in Cassopolis and Michael Frazier did a stage production of the “Orphan Train,” Beverly Smith performed Orphan Train-themed music and Dr. Scott Topping of Southwestern Michigan College led a Poetry Workshop. The ‘Lightning Round’ of poetry led to some amazing wordcraft from the audience, which ranged in age from 5 to 85. Below the images are some examples of submitted poetry:

Will anyone love me?
Can I love them?
Being loved and accepted; them and me?
I hope I’ll trade hunger for food,
trade loneliness for belonging.
trade sadness for joy ,
trade fear for confidence.
These are my hopes.

Always there
Always there – never wavering
Always there – always stabling
Always through tears – always through fears
Always when the end draws near – always there’s nothing to fear
When he’s right by my side – being my always.
          Martha Schaller – Age 14

I am alone
It all happened in the blink of an eye
My siblings are gone
My whole future has just been destroyed
What do I do?
I can’t survive life alone like this
My life is hopeless
I am not giving up though
I am going to search the whole world if I have to
I begin
          Laura Schaller – Age 11

Leave the scary known
arrive to A scarier unknown
who will take me
what will they expect of me
what will they do to me
how will I bear it
          June Blackwell