In 2013, a handful of students approached the SlamCharlotte Slammaster, asking him for an organization of their own. Terry Creech, the founder of SlamCharlotte, was asked and accepted the task of providing Charlotte youth with a poetic space of their own.
Terry recruited Jay Ward, a future World Slam Champion and Charlotte's first Poet Laureate, and Jessicah Shirah to assist in mentoring the original group of youth poets. BreatheINK took our first group of poets to Brave New Voices in July 2014 in Philadelphia, PA.
Over the next five years, BreatheINK reached the semi-final round at BNV four times.
In December 2021, BreatheINK became an official nonprofit organization, dedicated to creating safe spaces for Charlotte youth to form their own arts community and inform students throughout Mecklenburg County about the importance and impact of poetry on their lives. Our organization established offices at the Charlotte Art League in August 2022.
BreatheINK has established a dominant presence in the Mecklenburg County youth scene as a positive and effective force for arts and social impact. Multiple nonprofits from North and South Carolina, school systems, community centers, local city and county governments, and arts councils have sought program services and collaborations with our organization.
BreatheINK is currently growing to become a North Carolina statewide youth poetry nonprofit organization. A second branch of BreatheINK will be established in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area during the summer of 2024.