Our November charity of the month is Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop. Free Minds uses books, creative writing, and a peer support system to awaken DC youth incarcerated as adults to their own potential. Through creative expression, job readiness training, and violence prevention outreach, these young poets achieve their education and career goals and become powerful voices for change in the community. Since its inception in 2002, Free Minds has reached more than 1,000 youth through their continuum of services.
Winner of the 2015 Aspen Ideas Award, Free Minds is the only organization working with these young men throughout their entire incarceration and when they return home. In 2016, only 5 percent of Free Minds members who had been released from jail or prison re-offended within the calendar year, and 76 percent obtained employment, enrolled in school, or participated in vocational programs that will lead to employment. Free Minds hosts a monthly On the Same Page: Write Night, where community volunteers (including UUCSS members) gather alongside Free Minds Poet Ambassadors home from prison to provide feedback on the writing of Book Club members still incarcerated. Write Night is a simple, yet powerful, way to support members’
processes of self-awareness and change while reading great writing and meeting other volunteers.
The next Write Night will be held on Wednesday, November 15, from 7:00–8:30 pm at Seeker’s Church in Takoma Park. Please be generous and donate to Free Minds during the service on November 12, 2017.