In 2008, our first program, Poetry Pals, was started in Chicago by a group of dedicated volunteers who wanted to create opportunities for children of diverse backgrounds to meet and learn from each other. Founder Donna Yates was formerly a board member for We the Poets, a Philadelphia-based outreach poetry program, and used her experiences there to create a similar program in the Chicagoland area.

In 2017, we piloted Level, a program similar to Poetry Pals but specifically geared towards older students. Both of these were branched under one organization and Olive Tree Arts Network was established.

Our mission is to use creative expression to promote understanding, cooperation and peace in our multi-faith society. The underlying principle of Poetry Pals is that the mosaic of cultures in our modern world can be a source of inspiration rather than conflict.

We are dedicated to bringing together young people to share their faiths, learn about each other’s culture and have fun together by expressing themselves through words, art, music and performance.


Olive Tree Arts Network is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization and all donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by the law.