Alumni Spotlight

Edwin Moran


Growing up in Long Beach, Edwin Moran was fortunate to have both parents in the home, however he couldn’t avoid the violence and poverty in his community.

Looking to fill voids in his life and be accepted, as an adolescent he started hanging with the wrong crowds, using drugs and making bad decisions.  At age 17, Edwin was arrested for stabbing a young man.  Two months shy of his high school graduation, Edwin was looking at possibly spending the rest of his life in jail.

Edwin was introduced to the InsideOUT Writers Writing Program and initially lured in by the snacks offered at the end of class.  Edwin ultimately found himself moved by the writing experience.  “It was different.  I realized I could drop the street persona and be true to myself.  The pen made me honest.”  His writing teachers, Johnny Kovatch and Scott Budnick, encouraged him to stay with the program and they offered him much-needed emotional support.

Edwin was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to nearly 5 years in jail.  While at Chino Prison, Edwin received unexpected mail from Johnny.  When he opened the letter, there was one piece of paper and on it was one word – BELIEVE.  This powerful word pushed Edwin toward righteousness and he started to look at himself as “the fish that goes against the current.”

Edwin was released November 1, 2011 and was committed to making something of his life.  He immediately enrolled in the Alumni Program.  He began taking classes at Long Beach City College and is majoring in Human Studies.  Edwin is the first in his family to attend college.  He wants to become a youth counselor so he can use his experiences to help others make better choices.  After just two months and in record time, his probation was terminated.  Edwin has been a summer intern at IOW and also serves as a Consultant for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC).

Edwin shared that his outlook on life now can be summed up with a quote from Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning:  “Forces beyond your control can take everything you possess except one thing … the freedom to choose how you respond to the situation.”   Edwin adds, “It is up to you to make good choices.  If you make the wrong ones, learn from them.  If you choose the right ones, just go ahead and smile.”

— Liza Bray

“The Creator of Me”

There is nothing stopping me from becoming everything I wanna be.
Because with courage, determination and knowledge, I don’t need a key.
There are many doors around me, there are many doors indeed.
One by one I shall experience far more than what the eye can see.
I choose my fate, I feel my soul, I treat it like a tree,
I nurture it with knowledge by watering the seed.
I shall grow all over the world, see new faces, new weather and new streets.
And like the tree I shall quiet my voice and let my presence speak.
I am the master and captain who shall determine what will become of me.
I am the creator of my future and destiny’s the enemy.
Edwin Moran