SURGE: The Zone’s Teen Art & Literary Magazine!

In the Spring of 2019, Teachers & Writers Collaborative partnered with the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital to offer a creative writing program to in-patients at the hospital.  This issue of SURGE magazine represents work created with the T&W writer-in-residence Sarah Dohrmann during spring 2019, guest edited by Karla De Léon.

This issue of SURGE announces the new partnership between Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital and Teachers & Writers Collaborative.
Click to see the complete magazine

Introduction from writer-in-residence, Sarah Dorhmann

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the very first collaborative publication between the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital and Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W), a New York City nonprofit that seeks to educate the imagination by offering innovative creative writing programs for young people and adults.
Get ready to embark on many journeys as you read these pages. The writers, musicians, and artists published here, most of whom have experienced hospitalization at Mount Sinai and a few of whom are teen writers from the T&W community, travel to numerous places both literal and figurative. They ride from home to the hospital and back again; they go on adventures with Amos (one of the hospital’s Paws and Play therapy dogs); and they ultimately land in the loving arms of supportive family, friends, and hospital staff for whom they express deep gratitude.
Special thanks to Diane Rode, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Director, and Jordan Dann, the former Education Director of T&W who developed the newfound partnership between Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital and T&W. We look forward to a long and glorious journey together!

Sarah Dohrmann

Introduction from Teen Guest Editor, Karla De Léon

SURGE is a magazine that allows kids like me to express feelings of happiness, sadness, and anger—a place to have a voice of their own, a voice where everyone will be heard. When you hear about SURGE, you might just see it as a book with words and pictures, but you’re wrong. Yes, it does consist of those things, but they’re words and pictures filled with emotion, trauma, and experience—things that I relate to and things kids in my position think about a lot. It helps me to tell my story, helps me to forget about my illness, and helps me to help other kids to smile. When kids have an outlet that enables them to share a piece of themselves with others, it just makes it easier to be who they are. They don’t have to hide or pretend to be somebody they’re not. All they have to do is be a kid.

Karla De Léon
Guest Teen Editor

Featured Student Writing

My Uno Names
Japheth Martinez-Alvarez, 12

They call me
the Uno Master

The have-faith-in-yourself

the strategist

the patient

havin’ fun with
numbers and colors

and that’s just a few of
the Uno names I have

14 Stops to Home
Karla De Léon, 17

Secret cities live inside me
I live in secret cities

I speak the language of the drums
that come from the old Panamanian men
outside the barber shop

“Let me get a bacon with cream cheese on
a bagel. I got an apple juice too.”
“That will be $3.50.”

I can barely squeeze out the door
as faces bump me on their way for
their dollar coffee

I hit somebody with my scooter
I dip before I make them late

There goes the Q train—
construction workers, mothers, kids, teachers
keep looking out towards the tracks
as if that’s going to make the train come faster

Inside me, the 11-year-old me can’t keep shut
As I reach my stop, the 17-year-old me
just remains silent

Watches everybody go up the stairs
their footsteps hitting the 2-count
the 4-count

Now I look out my hospital window
wanting to step out
and get on the Q train

Former patients, MTA workers, babies
with their nannies,
14 stops to Church Ave
and I get home


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