Philadelphia's newest Youth Poet Laureate aims to uplift young women

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Abington Friends School Junior Cydney Brown isn't just your average high schooler.

The Northeast native was recently named Philadelphia's newest Youth Poet Laureate, and looks to inspire and help young women find their voice through her work.

Brown, 16, began written poetry in the fifth grade, citing legendary poets like Maya Angelou as an influence that she says has helped guide her on this journey.

"It's always been a way for me to communicate my feelings without actually having to state them," said Brown. "And people received them really well."

Brown says during the pandemic, she was looking for more ways to apply her work when she stumbled across the Philadelphia Free Library website.

It was there where Brown says she saw that the city was searching for its next youth poet laureate.

As the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on many in-school and after school activities, Brown says she gained motivation at home to be creative in other ways.

"For me, I just really wanted to put my work out there," said Brown. "During this pandemic, it's been really hard with like your self-esteem and just making sure you feel confident in what you put out into the world."

Tapping into her other talent in writing, Brown was able to connect with other writers online and eventually published an e-book titled "Day Dreaming."

Also, Brown, who is a longtime Girl Scout, leads a virtual mentorship program to help young women overcome obstacles that they encounter daily.

"We meet every Wednesday, and we talk about different topics to make girls feel more confident about themselves," Brown said.

Overall, Brown says she aims to empower and help young women who often feel muted.

"Females voices, they're so powerful. I really want to inspire our young girls to realize that your voice matters. And your voice can do things," she added. "People are listening to you."
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