The men and women incarcerated in the Larimer County Detention Center (LCDC), along with its officers and staff, chose CSU’s SpeakOut! writing program as their “Program of the Year” at a recent event to honor volunteers at the facility.
Each week during the fall and spring semesters, three to four student interns and 10 to 12 university and community volunteers meet with the men and women of the jail to write about anything from Shakespeare to a favorite chipped coffee cup. In those spaces, the writers explore their voices and hear each other, as they read aloud their freshly minted pieces produced in the workshop.
This year, the English Department’s Community Literacy Center (CLC) and SpeakOut! celebrate 10 years of writing programs at the jail and in facilities for at-risk youth in Fort Collins. These workshops have allowed writers to explore who and where they are in their lives through creative expression. The primary philosophy of this program is that every person has a story to tell; each has words that are valuable and necessary. Through the SpeakOut! writing workshops, the CLC confronts stereotypes of at-risk youth and incarcerated women and men, circulating the stories and creative work of community writers through print and multimedia publications, believing that these dynamic literacy activities are key to individual success, cultural awareness and a more socially just world.
Fall 2015 writing will be celebrated at two events in mid-December, with readings at Wild Boar on Dec. 15 (Youth Programs and Community Corrections) and at the LCDC on Dec. 16. Contact the CLC for further information — if you are interested in honoring the voices and stories that are all too often not heard.