Ventura County Youth Poet Laureate

The Ventura County Youth Poet Laureate program aims to identify young writers and leaders who are committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, and human relations, diversity and social justice across Ventura County. The laureateship is an honorary position held by an emerging poet between the ages of 13 and 19 who is a Ventura County resident with an established presence and history of involvement in the Ventura county literary arts community, in volunteer and community service, and in clubs, sports, or other co-curricular activities.

Role in the Community

Each Youth Poet Laureate serves a one-year term of service, during which they promote a wide range of literary arts and participate in ceremonial, educational and cultural activities throughout the county. They represent and celebrate the diversity and history, and vision of the youth, in Ventura County. During their term, each Youth Poet Laureate is actively involved with local colleges and high schools, and helps to create or facilitate workshops and readings that will bring them into contact with students of all ages, and with the public in a variety of contexts. Through various activities, they encourage community members to develop their own creative interests.

Youth Poet Laureate Ambassadors

The Ventura County Youth Poet Laureate Ambassadors serve alongside the Youth Poet Laureate to advance and promote literary arts and humanities in the county. They are fellow emerging poets who have previously been recognized as leaders in their community and nominated for Youth Poet Laureate candidacy.

Naming of the Laureate

Each year VCAC accepts submissions from talented Ventura County writers to be considered for the county's top literary honor for youth. We convene a Youth Poetry Laureate Committee, which is broadly representative of the Ventura County literary community, to review submissions and recommend one or more candidate for consideration.

VCAC makes the final appointment of the Youth Poet Laureate, who earns a $500 stipend, a published book of their poetry, and embarks on a year of opportunities as an ambassador for literary arts and youth expression. They also qualify to be selected as the National Youth Poet Laureate.

Current Ventura County Youth Poet Laureate Angelina Leaños is the third person to hold the laureateship. It was previously held by Genesis Perez and Unique Shehee.

Current Youth Poet Laureate Angelina Leaños was inaugurated from her home in Oxnard via Zoom in March 2021.
Current Youth Poet Laureate Angelina Leaños (left) and previous Youth Poet Laureate Genesis Perez (right) with current Ventura County Poet Laureate Luzmaria Espinosa (middle).
Previous Ventura County Youth Poet Laureate Genesis Perez (middle), with then-Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador Angelina Leaños (left) and Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador Sarahi Noyola (right) at the 2019-2020 Youth Poet Laureate Inauguration, held at Ventura College in November 2019.

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