Founder of Exodus United Inc., Shayna Castano is an internationally established poet, performer, philanthropist, mother, wife, educator, and human rights advocate. Her craft is a reflection of spiritual strength, perseverant resilience, and humble servitude. In both Shayna Castano’s poetry and community work, she challenges individuals to consider the interiority of self as well as the affect social issues has on both micro and macro levels. Shayna ranks within the top thirty of 76 competitors at Women of the World Poetry Slam (W.O.W.P.S.) 2015 as well within the top 6 teams, representing University of Central Florida’s 2015 slam team at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (C.U.P.S.I.) During her adolescence, she competed in Brave New Voices for three consecutive years, representing both South Florida as well as Hampton Roads, Virginia.
In an interview by Crystal Chavez, host of WMFE 90.7 Central Florida Public Radio, Shayna speaks to her passion of providing a voice for the voiceless: “It is very exciting to assist individuals with having a platform for someone to listen to them, rather than them being marginalized or even completely silenced. I believe performing poetry allows them to be able to have more security within themselves and assurance and have that confidence that they need to get out there in the world, whether it is within the job force or with any other endeavor. I believe working with those to get them to write poetry helps them to get more in tune with themselves and understand WHO THEY ARE and develop personal identity.”
Co-Founder of Exodus United Inc. Youth Mentor & Motivational Speaker using his story of transition from gang life to Christ as a way of uplifting at-risk youth. U.S. Veteran, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a 2nd Class Petty officer. Currently pursuing a B.A. in Sociology at University of Central Florida.