About Shawn

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Shawn Welcome is a Brooklyn, NY native but has lived in Orlando, FL since 1993. He received his Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Central Florida and has been actively engaged in community work since 2006, with the launch of a poetry and life skills program for youth offenders at 33rd St. Jail. That same year, he also founded “Diverse Word” at Dandelion Communitea Café, a weekly open mic poetry night which attracts not only poets, but singers, comedians, and rappers from all over the city in a celebration of self-expression.

While his work at the jail ended in 2008, the open mic did not and became the longest running weekly open mic in Orlando still hosted by its founder. He also launched a second location at Lake Lorna Doone Park in partnership with the City of Orlando and was selected by the Mayor of Orlando to be on the Poet Laureate Selection Committee.

Professionally, he has given himself to youth related area non-profit organizations including The Hope Community Center, Boys & Girls Club, Pg. 15, Frontline Outreach Community Center, and the Professional Opportunities Program for Students (POPS). He led and sponsored Oak Ridge High School’s poetry club while working for POPS from 2011-2015 in addition to teaching an entry level English class during the 2015-2016 school year.

Shawn authored and published “H20: Immersed in Verse” in 2013, has traveled the United States motivating people with his gift of words, written and performed circa 20 NBA commercials for the Orlando Magic, and performed in countless faith-based functions. He currently serves as the Family Engagement Coordinator of “MVP Families” for the Polis Institute, a community engagement effort supported by LIFT Orlando and other partners to see academic success in 32805.  He posts monthly blogs about his work with Polis.

Shawn is the proud father of four children and lives in Orlando with his beautiful wife, Jannah.