Poetry for Personal Power, Inc.
PO Box 171411
Kansas City KS 66102
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 392-6074
Mission Statement

Using art to show that emotional distress is temporary and transformative.

CEO/Executive Director Ms. Corinna West
Board Chair Ms. Corinna West
Board Chair Company Affiliation
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2013
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement

Using art to show that emotional distress is temporary and transformative.

Background Statement
Impact Statement
Past year accomplishments:
  • Completion of 90 Health Care Messaging Events with 1,985 artists sharing stories about overcoming adversity, and 3,737 audience in attendance. Our average event size is 43 people.
  • Poetry for Personal Power is the only organization to have received SAMHSA's social inclusion award for four consecutive years; this is because our organization has overcome barriers and delivered results on time and on budget. We are currently the only organization to have ever received two SAMHSA BRSS-TACS in the same year (Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale.)
  • 19 community partners completed the Wellbeing Impact Assessment process and joined our Resilience Building Community Network.
  • Delivered four Lay Person Intervention Training sessions for first-episode psychosis.
  • 18% positive resilience change across all demographics with the program showing to be most effective among young girls in the exact age range of early onset psychosis.

Goals for upcoming year:
  • Completion of 120 Health Care Messaging Events
  • Develop messaging programs for tobacco dependence treatment and substance use prevention.
  • Complete a Strategic Prevention Framework planning process related to mental illness and substance use prevention.
  • Increase capacity to provide (ex)/patient advocacy related to mental illness prevention and complete recovery transition services.
  • Develop a peer support network by increasing community capacity for lay interventions.
Needs Statement
Agency Needs:
  • Sustainable funding sources
  • Board development
  • Increased agency infrastructure for financial planning, staffing, legal support, and program development
Service Categories
Community Health Systems
Substance Abuse Dependency, Prevention & Treatment
Adult, Child Matching Programs
Areas of Service
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
CEO, Corinna West:
Our sponsored poets are experienced in reaching out to the targeted demographic, which is African-American youth aged 18-25. Our poets have developed strong marketing skills and event hosting skills. We are working to develop their skills as resilience-building advocates to help host organizations follow up with the Well-Being Impact Survey. Poetry for Personal Power is used to working through barriers to create an innovative and successful program. We are developing the infrastructure and organizational capacity to handle our role as a nationwide mental health innovation program. We were nominated for the Scattergood Foundation's Mental Health Care Innovation Award. Although we are based in Wyandotte county, we are national in scope and we have the resources and creativity to scale our program up to meet the needs for mental illness prevention to do that.
Poetry for Personal Power's barriers come from the mental health industry's lack of respect for consumer-led business, despite the fact that our programs are cutting edge and highly effective.(Qualitative Social Work December 2004 vol. 3 no. 4). We work within these constraints, perhaps, better than many peer led organizations. This is because of our equitable approach to excellent health overall, emphasis on community-based supports, and our willingness to shoulder some of the responsibility for behavioral healthcare workforce development.
Board Chair, Dennis Budd:
I have attended a number of the poetry sessions over the past few years. I've been impressed by how well they draw out the expression of the personal and social spaces in which people lose their way emotionally and psychically and then find a way through and out. It gives people a chance to express experiences that may be treated as mental illness, not as someone who needs treatment, but as a person whose poetry expresses experience worth sharing. Poetry for Personal Power is now expanding this as a base for social networking that can lead to connection instead of alienation for those whose experience and functioning is out of kilter with the norm.
Health Care Messaging - Increase in Resilience.
In the past year we have hosted 90 spoken word poetry events across the states of Kansas and Missouri. Poetry for Personal Power has hosted 20 health care messaging events East of Troost in Kansas City, nine in Wyandotte County, and others across Kansas. These events brought in double the projected number of participants because we were able to partner with the Brave New Voices youth poetry slam championships as well as a whole-school assembly and a large Kwanzaa celebration. Our key program ingredients included: Hearing the Poets' stories, self expression / emotional release, Being in community, a safe environment, all of it / Poetry for Personal Power messages, performing/ using talents / feeling valued, and relatability / feeling heard / feeling accepted.
Category Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other Creative Arts Therapy
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success
Question: "What action do you plan to take after this event?" Responses: Be more tolerant, 4.3%; Encourage and check in on a friend and support others, 12.2%; Talk to friends more a be open, 13.0%; Write more, express myself, go to poetry events, 13.4%; Listen to others more, 16.1%; Work on wellness approaches, 19.0%.
Question: "What surprised you most about the event?" That I enjoyed the event, 2.8%; That I am not alone in my struggles, 8.7%; The talent of the students, 10.2%; The power of poetry, 14.6%.
Question: "What was the most useful or motivating part of the event?" The program creator's story, 7.9%; A specific participant's story, 10.6%; The feature poet, 15.4%; The openness and honesty of the students on stage, 13.8%; Hearing other's stories about overcoming adversity, listening to the performances, 44.1%; The whole thing and program concept -- eg. info given, 46.5%; Performing in the poetry contest, working up courage, the new poets, styles and feedback, 48.4%.
Long-Term Success Increasing resilience leading to violence prevention, mental illness prevention and substance use prevention. We reached our desired project outcomes of resilience increase, as measured with evaluations containing 13 questions about emotional (and philosophical) state of being. The breakdown for each question shows an increase of 15-25% towards desired program outcomes, depending on demographic. Our project-related audience of 18-25 year olds showed a 25% increase in resilience, and African-Americans as a group showed a 20% increase in resilience. This resilience is linked to lowered rates of violence, substance use, and mental illness.
Program Success Monitored By
Pre-Post Surveys
On the evaluations there are 13 questions regarding participants’ emotional (and philosophical) state of being. The questions are answered before the program to develop a baseline of their current “mood”. They are able to choose one of five possible responses to the questions (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree). The same questions are asked again after the program has been completed. Programs normally last between 1 hour – 3 hours dependent on the type of program (workshop, poetry slam, town hall, open mic, education)
The breakdown for each question shows an increase of 15-25% towards desired program outcomes, depending on demographic. Our project-related audience of 18-25 year olds showed a 25% increase in resilience, and African-Americans as a group showed a 20% increase in resilience.
Examples of Program Success
Mackala Blair, event host:
“In a subtle, yet powerful way, words have and will always have the ability to shape our world, ideas and even our identities. When I see a poet get on that stage,a timid realization forms, that they have the audience in their hands. So many, myself included, walk off the stage glowing and buzzing with a blissful feeling of connection, belonging, and hope. When they're saying Poetry for Personal Power, they really mean it.”

Adrienne Robinson, sponsored artist:
“Poetry for personal power is a dynamic program that provides opportunities for artists through outreach. The events are engaging, informative, innovative, and brings a wealth of awareness about mental illness to audiences primarily affected. I've witnessed patrons in tears as well as watch them pull artists aside to speak privately about the impact of the performance or of their own experience. These events allow genuine dialogue and therapy through words.”
Description Since 2007, the Centers for Medicaid Services have recognized the need for the expansion of Medicaid-funded peer support. Their 2007 letter says, “Peer support services are an evidence-based mental health model of care which consists of a qualified peer support provider who assists individuals with their recovery from mental illness and substance abuse disorders. CMS recognizes that the experiences of peer support providers...can be an important component in a state’s delivery of effective treatment” (Letter #07-011). The Missouri Department of Mental Health has recognized the value of peer support, peer support specialists, and peer support networks. The addition of peer support specialists and a network thereof is badly needed in our region. The mental health safety net is severely strained. A greater number of peer support specialists, and networking thereof, will help alleviate these shortages and limited availability.
Category Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other Peer Counseling
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success
Our pre/post surveys show event outcomes that indicate sharing messaging is helpful to people experiencing first-episode psychosis, especially within the young female population that often experiences early onset psychosis. A sampling of outcomes showed:

  • “I have a sense of control over life” – 21% resilience increase
  • “I know that what I do makes a difference” – 19% resilience increase
  • “I have a productive way to express my thoughts and feelings” – 15% resilience increase
  • “My life is meaningful” – 16% resilience increase
  • “I have pride and self-esteem” – 19% resilience increase
  • “I feel a part of my community” – 19% resilience increase
  • “I feel supported by others” – 19% resilience increase
Long-Term Success
The long term goal for our peer support clients is mental illness prevention or complete mental health recovery. Poetry for Personal Power is focused on creating ‘whole-person mental health care.’ Poetry for Personal Power is focused on building a network of community wellness organizations that will provide mental health care where it is needed. Often, in both urban and rural settings, community-based wellness organizations are many individual’s only access to mental health care. Poetry for Personal Power provides organizations with the tools it needs so that simple mental health peer support can be provided (where there has been none before), and to make it possible for organizations to host peer support specialists to handle more complex questions and situations. This allows clients to have increased recovery outcomes, increased quality of life, increased sense of belonging, and better management of social and trauma-related problems.
Program Success Monitored By
  • Increased capacity in participating nonprofits and social organizations, regarding knowledge of mental health from a trauma-informed, resilience-focused perspective; and integration of trauma-informed, resilience-focused practices, measured by the Diffusion of Innovations Scale (developed by Pankratz, Hallfors, and Cho, 2002), and the Trauma-Informed Organization Scale, created by the National Council on Behavioral Healthcare
  • Increased sense of well-being, quality of life, and sense of belonging among members/clients in participating nonprofits and social organizations (measured by Herth Hope Index, Sense of Belonging Index, WHOQOL-BREF (World Health Organization General Quality of Life assessment), or the Wisconsin Quality of Life Assessment).
  • Using the Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessment process, which helps the organization self-assess their capacity to provide lay mental health interventions regarding mental health wellness.
Examples of Program Success
Paul Komarek, Mental Health Innovation Expert:
“Poetry for Personal Power understands that we should focus on building health in communities, where people have always supported each other. The innovation is rediscovering the value of an informed supportive community, and activating that support with poetry. Who better to talk about trouble, trauma, isolation and the drama of life than poets? Poetry is about heroes, overcoming suffering, and the power of love to heal all wounds.”
Aziza Binti, Program Mentor:
“It's vital to have access to the resources that Poetry for Personal Power offers and they make sure that a wide range of people needing those resources actually get them. Sustained healing requires approaches that focus on finding ways to help that fit different kinds of people. I believe that Poetry for Personal Power understands this at its core and addresses these challenges and solutions.”
Description Advocacy & Policy Change: Influence/educate insurers and Medicaid policymakers to fully fund peer support options to promote that recovery occurs when peer specialists are added to mental health centers (provides increase of recovery orientations). Network also advocates for funders to fund early prevention (rather than later treatment, when health care is expensive to provide). Also includes state-focused Medicaid expansion advocacy in Missouri and Kansas, as well as work on tobacco dependence treatment for people with mental health labels. Advocacy with Missouri policymakers will be ongoing.
Category Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other Peer Counseling
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success
  • (Ex) / Patient advocates deliver 1,800 hours of freelance efforts on resilience building, policy advocacy, and community engagement
  • Advocates coordinate with 30 other advocacy organizations to promote effective tobacco treatment legislation
  • Advocates make tobacco related information presentations at nine conferences
Long-Term Success
  • Advocates generate views on social media and traditional media around tobacco, mental health-focused, and health insurance related policy change
  • Advocates connect 45 community nonprofits to possible grant funding for wellness oriented approaches
  • Advocacy efforts result in 15 meetings around tobacco, mental health-focused, and health insurance related funding and policy changes
  • (Ex) / Patient advocates are present at 70% of mental health related decision making panels in the city and state
Program Success Monitored By Community mobilization, media monitoring, coalition building, advocate training levels, public awareness surveys, champion development, public forums, and policy changes.
Examples of Program Success
Sheri Hall, Sponsored Artist:
“Poetry for personal power is one of the most dynamic platforms that I have seen that not only addresses mental health but capacity building within the community. This programs equips communities to help themselves in a very real way. Awesome program, it changes lives and organizations.”
Rick Cagan, NAMI Kansas Director:
“Poetry for Personal Power is a unique organization which we have witnessed in a number of settings. At the most recent Mental Health Advocacy Day at the Capitol, two members of the group wowed the audience with their powerful messages which relate to the struggles of those living with mental illness. It was an inspiring opportunity for all those gathered to advance the cause of recovery and elevate our communication with policy makers. We plan on incorporating additional performances in future events for NAMI Kansas and the Kansas Mental Health Coalition.”
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Corinna West
Term Start Apr 2009
Poetry for Personal Power's program director and founder, Corinna West is an Olympic athlete with lived experience of mental illness recovery. She has a Masters degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. She was a catalyst for the Creating Community Solutions national mental health dialogue project funded by the Greater Kansas City Healthcare Foundation. She was a Cohort VIII fellow of the Kansas Health foundation. She was recipient of the 2013 Judi Chamberlin award for Advocate of the Year of the Recovery movement for mental health civil rights movement. Corinna is a connector; a person who naturally builds coalitions, partnerships and collaborations.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start
Compensation Last Year
Paid Full-Time Staff 1
Paid Part-Time Staff 0
Volunteers 50
Paid Contractors 75
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Under Development
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Under Development
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistleblower Policy No
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Corinna West
Term Apr 2009 to Dec 2016
Email corinna@poetryforpersonalpower.com
Board Members
Ms. Corinna West
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 6
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 3
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2016
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2016
Projected Revenue $160,000
Projected Expenses $160,000
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2015: Financial data reported using the organization's internal financial documents.
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$15,207----
Administration Expense$0----
Fundraising Expense$0----
Payments to Affiliates$0----
Total Revenue/Total Expenses2.56----
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%----
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%----
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$24,836----
Current Assets$24,836----
Long-Term Liabilities$0----
Current Liabilities$0----
Total Net Assets$24,836----
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%----
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount ------
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount ------
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount ------
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Organization Name Poetry for Personal Power, Inc.
Address PO Box 171411
Kansas City, KS 66102
Primary Phone (816) 392-6074
Contact Email corinnawest816@gmail.com
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Corinna West
Board Chair Ms. Corinna West
Year of Incorporation 2013