Through its Writing and Alumni Programs, IOW provides a continuum of care to youth and young adults who have been impacted by the criminal justice system both during and following their incarceration.
Founded in 1996, the Writing Program is designed to provide a safe space of creativity, healing and self-exploration within the living units of L.A. County juvenile detention facilities, Men’s Central Jail and at selected community sites. Students are encouraged to use writing as means of self-expression and an alternative mechanism to violence and destructive social behavior.
Writing Program Components:
CREATIVE WRITING CLASSES:
39 weekly classes, led by volunteer teachers who encourage positive peer interaction and provide a safe space for students’ creativity to flourish.
IN DEPTH Literary Journal:
Students’ writings are published in a quarterly literary journal.
An annual event at each facility celebrates and gives “voice” to students’ writings.
Established in 2009, the Alumni Program is comprised of six interconnected components working in concert to transition former Writing Program students into productive and viable lives after incarceration. Program components are a balance of core services, productive activities and community involvement designed to help alumni thrive while taking control of their lives.
ALUMNI PROGRAM Components:
Case Managers provide coordinated care to identify and address the short-term needs and long-term goals of alumni.
Paired with an adult mentor in a year-long program, alumni have the opportunity to foster positive and healthy relationships in the community.
Writing continues to serve as a catalyst for personal enhancement and transformation.
LIFE SKILLS ENRICHMENT SESSIONS:
Interactive workshops and seminars are designed to build the critical thinking, social, communication and leadership skills of alumni.
IOW alumni speak at a variety of community and educational venues to hone their public speaking skills and literally give a “voice” to their personal experiences.
CULTURAL EVENTS & FIELD TRIPS:
Outings to attractions and unique venues provide team building opportunities for alumni, while exposing them to the local, regional and global human experience.