A photo of several of the colorful tiny homes at YSA's tiny house village. Each one is covered in a mural by a local artist.
YSA’s Youth Empowerment Village is adorned with murals from local artists. (Simone Rotman)

The following pieces were produced in the writing group at YSA’s Tiny House Empowerment Village. Facilitated by Zoe Mosko, the writing group has been meeting at the Village twice a month since June. Participants sit around and talk, enjoy snacks, write on suggested writing prompts, or free write, and share what they’ve written.


I feel like in society people wear masks to correct the lies. I myself felt I could read a room well and feel the energy of good or bad. I learned to be balanced in my emotions which helped me overcome the people wearing masks.



This is probably a topic that’s been overly spoken about, but one that weighs heavily on my mind. What are we here for? What is my purpose? Are we meant to even have a purpose? Or are we just another variation of organic matter and energy, destined to rot away with the earth? I think sentience is a double-edged sword. On one hand we have the capability of looking inward and striving for something greater, but on the other, we can over-think to the point of self-destruction. I also like to think we romanticize the idea of success and that somehow we intertwine the ideas of success with purpose. And why does society now feel the need to pressure us to be “successful”? In any case I’m just extremely grateful to be alive. Every day truly is a gift, as overstated as it may be. I just hope that my impact on the world is positive, and to somehow or another make people laugh.

-Samuel R.

Who Said

Who said I couldn’t have
the white picket fence with
a car and three kids.
Who said a gun license
in that same breath isn’t
possible. Who said that
four degrees blasting Tupac
and Joe isn’t a thing. Who said
tickets to the symphony every
month with champagne in hand
and fresh fruits and stinky cheese
isn’t my trend. When I say
multidimensional is a thing it

-Mame Diarra Abdur Rahman

The Breakthrough

One day I said
enough it is time for
a change. I said
I take charge of my
life to my cousin’s
coffin in the language
of tears. I started
seeing 1111, 555, 222, 333
only to lead me through.
They say this journey is voodoo but god gave
me the blessing. It
started with my inner child
wounded from the simulation
we call life. I told her I’m sorry and showered her with 
the gift of music lessons, health
and love. She now accepts her gifts
and is confident the world wants
to see them.

-Mame Diarra Abdur Rahman


Renegade in my hereditary
Renaissance Revolution
Revelations in my way of living
All the world’s a stage
I hate 2 act, really
I’m patient, have patience
Not in this illusion I’m impatience
I’d rather be epitome of Synchronicities & conscious
Instead of the middle path, I picked the most dangerous
My dreams, deja vu’s never basic
I’m never contemplating, sometimes come off as conceited
If I had 2 pick flowers I’m the thorns on a Rose
Don’t be a weed in any surroundings
My environment is a lotus in a fountain