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Kelly Tsai

Public Allies Chicago, 2000

Kelly's AmeriCorps experience (service began in 2000 with Public Allies Chicago) was spent at a youth entrepreneurship start-up nonprofit in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago. Kelly worked with youth and adults to use their talents and creativity to create economic sustainability for themselves and their communities. This formative experience manifested itself in unexpected ways as Kelly moved to Brooklyn, New York, and became an entrepreneur herself, taking her lifelong love of spoken word poetry as her career, performing over 600 shows for audiences worldwide including venues such as the White House, three seasons of Russell Simmons Presents HBO Def Poetry, and Tyra Banks' Flawsome Ball. Kelly's tenure with Public Allies Chicago taught her that we all benefit when diverse communities and leaders come together to solve society's toughest problems. Kelly's work as an artist seeks to create the emotional, visceral, and interpersonal connection between disempowerment and empowerment. (photo credit: Beto Sepulveda)

Spoken Word Poet / Filmmaker / Interdisciplinary Artist
New York, NY
“Service can be done from any position at any point of life. Giving to your community through your work is not reserved for those in the not-for-profit sector or those who are early in their careers."