I Am A Poem


To create a platform that gives young people the opportunity to express their feelings, life experiences, perceptions, ideas, and personal truths thru the art of poetry in a community setting.


About the Project

The event name, “I am a POEM (Product Of Environmental Motivation)” is the brainchild of Kelan Bilal, a local business owner, community leader, and Non-Profit Executive of Grooming University and The Colony Youngstown just to name a few. He created the slogan about 6 years ago as a part of the #Chillout campaign, a “stop the violence” movement aimed at reducing the violent crime that chronically plagues his beloved hometown. The movement branded the phase “#Chillout” as a device that encourages at risk persons to relax and think about the decisions that they were making in tense situations. As someone who has survived the rough environment of Youngstown, Ohio in the Late 1980’s and early 90’s Kelan attributes much of his success to positive influence and environmental stimulation afforded by opportunities to visit and connect with less afflicted people and places. His intuitive nature made him aware of the impact that the contrasting forces were having on him and that realization ultimately evolved into the slogan “I Am A POEM”.
In the late fall of 2018 a Youth Spoken Word and Poetry Festival that was being developed by The Colony Youngstown (of which Kelan is the President) had great promise but lacked a name that seemed to possess the quality of its vision. During an event committee meeting where possible names were being tossed around, Kelan pointed to a shirt that he was wearing that read “I Am A POEM” Product Of Environmental Motivation and it instantly clicked for everyone in the room, The event had found it’s Calling, literally.

Participation and Prizes

All aspiring poets and spoken art performance students in Mahoning Valley ages 14 – 19 (Graduating Classes of 2020 – 2023) are encouraged to submit a video auditon no later than Monday September 16 2019 at 5pm. The selection committee will announce the final contestants on Thursday September 19th via press release, social media, and partner websites. A total of 30 acts will be selected to perform at the Amphitheater hosted festival and compete for a chance to win a Scholarship and matching donation “In thier name” to thier School.
Video submissions should be emailed to:
connect@iamapoemfest.org by Monday September 16th at 5pm


1st Place
$1,000 for student
$1,000 High School
2nd Place
$500 for student
$500 High School
3rd Place
$250 for student
$250 High School


  • 1312 Oak Hill Ave Youngstown, Ohio 44507

  • 724.931.2828

  • connect@iamapoemfest.org

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