April 7, 2022

CONTACT: Shawntee` Herring Seth Levit 

PHONE: (954) 424-0799



FT. LAUDERDALE, FL – The Jason Taylor Foundation is pleased to announce that Amanda Budejen has earned the honor of being named South Florida Youth Poet Laureate (SFYPL) for the 2021-22 school year. A current Cypress Bay High School senior, Amanda submitted a unique writing portfolio earning high marks from a panel of judges. A special presentation will take place during the organization’s monthly youth open mic “The VoiceBox” on Friday, April 29 at ArtServe in Ft. Lauderdale to celebrate Amanda and two Youth Poet Ambassadors, serving as a fitting conclusion to National Poetry Month.

Amanda is an award-winning writer whose accolades include competing in the 2021 Louder Than A Bomb Florida Team Finals, earning a Regional Silver Medal and multiple Honorable Mentions from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, being named a 2021 Silver Knight nominee for the English and Literature category, placing second in WordUp! Spoken Word Competition and being published in Just Poetry!!! National Poetry Quarterly, an American High School Poets anthology and The Rewritten, a Wingless Dreamer anthology. Though Amanda is talented in multiple genres of writing, she hopes to use her poems to amplify the feelings and beautiful things that come with being alive. “Writing is my way of expressing myself honestly and as purely as I can, and hopefully, I’ll inspire others to do the same,” Budejen said. 

The South Florida Youth Poet Laureate competition is a collaboration between the Jason Taylor Foundation’s Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, and Urban Word, a New York-based literary arts education and youth development organization. Amanda is now the seventh winner of the South Florida Youth Poet Laureate.

An esteemed panel of educators, authors, poets and community professionals meticulously read through the largest submission pool since the inception of the South Florida Youth Poet Laureate program that included a portfolio of poetry and each student’s résumé. At the end of the process, one Youth Poet Laureate and two Youth Poet Ambassadors were selected. The Ambassadors are Stephanie Seraphin, currently dual enrolled at Miami Northwestern High School and Miami Dade College, and Shnayjaah Jeanty, a senior at Charles W. Flanagan High School.

“The Youth Poet Laureate program is an opportunity for young writers to put forth a body of work that is representative of their true voice,” said Shawntee` Herring, Program Director of the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network. “The creativity, unique perspective, and depth of thought of the submissions are inspiring and continue to amaze the judges each and every year. We congratulate Amanda, Stephanie, and Shnayjaah, as well as the other participants for an outstanding show of penmanship.”

As Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda will work with the Jason Taylor Foundation and Urban Word to help foster community and social awareness through her poetry. In addition to the recognition and philanthropic and performance opportunities, the South Florida Youth Poet Laureate will publish her own chapbook to be presented and celebrated at a book release party. Additionally, Amanda will have the opportunity to enter the National Youth Poet Laureate program. Last year’s South Florida Youth Poet Laureate, Isabella Ramirez, is currently one of four finalists for the National Youth Poet Laureate title. 

The South Florida Youth Poet Laureate is a joint program of the Jason Taylor Foundation and Urban Word, with support from the Miami Dolphins, UPS, and UKG, and championed by the leading national literary and arts organizations, including the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities, the Library of Congress, Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, Pen Center USA, and Cave Canem.

About the Jason Taylor Foundation 

In July 2004, Miami Dolphins legendary Defensive End, Jason Taylor, established the Jason Taylor Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization. The Foundation’s mission is to support and create programs that facilitate the personal growth and empowerment of South Florida’s children in need by focusing on improved health care, education and quality of life.

Since opening its doors, the Jason Taylor Foundation has impacted tens of thousands of children through innovative programming including The Jason Taylor Reading Room, Cool Gear for the School Year, the Jason Taylor Children’s Learning Center, Jason Taylor Scholars and the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, among others. For more information on the Jason Taylor Foundation, please visit www.JasonTaylorFoundation.org or follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/jasontaylorfoundation or Twitter:  www.twitter.com/@jtfoundation99 or www.twitter.com/@bluapplepoetry.