Free Minds Write Event

On May 12, 2017, OLLI members and staff coordinated an event with local nonprofit Free Minds Book Club, which sponsors literacy programs for incarcerated youth in DC and elsewhere. Free Minds encourages inmates to write about their experiences and emotions through various forms of poetry, then arranges for volunteers to read and comment on the youths' poems. Through this process, these young poets are encouraged to continue to express themselves. They learn that people they don't know -- like OLLI members -- can relate to their work and care about them. This is a powerful incentive as they seek to turn their lives in new directions. Thirty or so OLLI participants enjoyed learning about how such interactions have changed lives.  As much as participants' comments may have a positive impact on incarcerated youth, we had our hearts and minds opened by their work. Many thanks to all who participated.

You can download a PDF of two of the poems with particpants' comments.