Choose a program to bring to your school district or organization!

Our Curriculum

As part of our Lit Kids! programming, The Watering Hole partners with the Columbia chapter of NAACP ACT-SO, a national yearlong mentoring and achievement program for high school students. Mentors prepare students to demonstrate academic, artistic, and scientific expertise for a chance to compete nationally and win scholarships & prizes. ACT-SO includes 32 competitions in STEM, humanities, business, and performing, visual and culinary arts.

The Watering Hole partners with them by providing Poetry Master Classes to prepare students for the poetry competition and by judging the Columbia chapter’s spring poetry competition.


As part of our Lit Kids! Programming, The Watering Hole is currently finalizing programming at two schools in Richland County School District 1, who are interested in being our incubator sites for Debate Slam–a creative writing and oratory competition that requires research, critical thought, problem-solving skills, poetic prowess, teamwork, and performance.

Our objectives are to address the effects of poverty; to encourage appreciation of the art form; to meet S.C. English Language Arts Standards; to build great leaders, thinkers, and poets; and of course, to have fun. Our Slam Debates will have the appeal of a rap battle, the technique of a poetry workshop, and the argumentation of a debate using the formal standards of competition.

Students who complete this Debate Slam program will be equipped to think critically about the effects of history on poverty, the role of identity, the influence of pop culture, and how/why this matters to them individually. They will be able to understand, dissect, and respond to narratives and ideas in both written (poetry) and oral (slam) modes of communication, according to the College and Career Readiness Standards and the SC Ready Testing; thus, they will be prepared to acclimate themselves to college curriculum. They will be able to manipulate poetic and rhetorical strategies to formulate the most persuasive argument.

In addition, students who complete this program will be dynamic, confident, and excited poets, who are well equipped to compete across the country in the coming years at competitions like Brave New Voices as well as National Tournaments hosted by the National Debate & Speech Association. Our goal is to wipe out the academic divide with the power of art and information.

With the success of Debate Slam in Richland County, The Watering Hole will be able to apply similar techniques in other at-risk areas of South Carolina, including the “corridor of shame” in the lowcountry.

You can join the Tribe, too! Click the donate button or contact us to continue the conversation about how we can work together.


As part of our Lit Kids! Programming, The Watering Hole partners with #EveryBlackGirl, a Columbia-based cultural movement headed by Vivian Anderson. This 501(c)3 organization was born from the aftermath of the Spring Valley High School incident.

What does #EveryBlackGirl do?

  • It brings awareness and solutions to issues impacting black girls and hopes to create a world where #EveryBlackGirl can thrive.
  • It centers Black women and girls as active agents of change that are able to cope and thrive beyond their adversities.  
  • It highlights the role women and girls are playing in this movement through their stories and how those stories are positively influencing the lives of Black women and girls across the U.S.

The Watering Hole helps organize and teach weekly classes and provides mentorship for #EveryBlackGirl.

You can visit or participate on Saturdays at 1:30 at the Katherine M. Bellfield Cultural Arts Center, 2611 Grant Street, Columbia, SC.

You can join the Tribe, too! Click the donate button or contact us to continue the conversation about how we can work together.

Poetry with STEAM

As part of our Lit Kids! programming, The Watering Hole partners with S.C. Arts Commission and was funded by the Arts in Education grant to provide STEAM classes. This initiative is focused on putting the Arts back into STEM, by pairing writing or performative literary arts with one of the STEM fields, for example, poetry and composting, playwriting and coding, character/world building and blueprint drawing, monologuing and set design.

S.T.E.A.M. Sessions

(Rising 6th – 8th)

We merge poetry and performance with at least one of the following disciplines during each of our sessions: science, technology, engineering, and math. By focusing on safe, hands-on experiments and allowing students to explore their interests, our learners get to learn about themselves, their passions, as well as the art of poetry.

Spoken Word Sessions
(Ages 14-17)

We use techniques from performance poetry and debate clubs to engage students in contemporary topics, encourage them to research outside of the sophistical pro-con binary, and push them towards truth-seeking and problem-solving. Once student formulate their opinions, they write poetry that is invested in depicting this new perspective.

This project is hosted by The Watering Hole Inspirations Academy and sponsored by South Carolina Arts Commission.