CHICAGO (CBS) — Rahm Emanuel presented a big check to his Twitter alter ego this week, and the money is going to a worthy charity,  Young Chicago Authors.

What exactly does that group do? CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot found out.

Naomi Daugherty says the Young Chicago Authors’ annual “Louder Than A Bomb” poetry festival has given her the voice she didn’t even know she had.

“It saved my life,” the senior says. “It invokes me to create stories about what was troubling me.”

Daugherty is one of more than 600 Chicago area high school students getting judged for their original poetry readings. 

Johnny Zapata, a high school junior, is also taking part in the largest youth poetry festival in the world. Zapata says the event has helped him overcome his fear of public performance.

“I really wanted to do this. I wanted to feel this experience. It’s my first time and I’m excited.”

One person responsible for the excitement being felt by Zapata and the other young people here, is Columbia College Professor Dan Sinker. 

Sinker’s Tweets, have virtually made the Young Chicago Authors program, a household name.  Sinker was sending Twitter messages as if he they were coming from Rahm Emanuel, during the mayoral campaign. 

Emanuel made good on a promise to donate $5,000 to Sinker’s favorite charity, after learning who the Tweets were coming from. Now the non-profit program has received more than $13,000 in donations.

“I think it’s really great and symbolic that we’re a creative writing organization and Dan Sinker was engaging in this creative pursuit, and that is being rewarded,” says Robbie Q. Telfer, who directs performances for the organization.

The finals for the Young Chicago Authors Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Festival are taking place on March 12 at the Vic Theater.

Telfer says he hopes Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel will be a guest judge. He attended the event in 2008, when his niece made the finals.

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