Congratulations to our Finalists and Honorable Mentions!

Winners were determined by our judges, Hanif Abdurraqib, Shira Erlichman, Kaveh Akbar, Amanda Gorman, and Diane Luby Lane.

Judges: thank you so much for your time and expertise! We couldn’t have done this without you!

Congratulations to all of the people who have added their voices to the Why I Rise conversation! Your poems were extraordinary and we are so grateful for your words. Meet our judges and learn more at


Honorable Mentions


  • $1,000 for top 5 Poets
  • $500 for Teacher/Mentor who is listed for most referrals
  • Professional video made


  • Must be between 13-22 years old
  • Performance must be under 3 minutes
  • Video must be recorded with a plan background, quiet room, horizontal (preferred)

Need Help? Poem Prompts:

  • If quarantine was a person…
  • When I feel stuck in one place I…
  • My room is a world where…
  • I choose to rise because…
  • How has mental health impacted your family, community or friends? 
  • When, where, and with whom is your mental health strongest? 
  • What does a world where people are cared for and healed look or feel ike? 
  • Any topic of your choice!


Performance: Delivered with strong conviction. Memorization preferred, not essential.

Creativity: Original, exciting, unique perspective

Relevance: About some aspect of mental health

Questions? Ideas? Issues?

For questions or comments about this contest, please email [email protected]