Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth

by Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth
Support for DC's Previously Incarcerated Youth

Project Report | Apr 1, 2024
FM Members Supporting Each Other and the Community

By Makenna Lindsay | Communications Intern

Free Minds member Terrell gets his library card
Free Minds member Terrell gets his library card

Hello from the Free Minds family, and happy spring! We have several exciting updates to share from the past few months. We hosted our first ever Free Minds Networking Day at the end of 2023, and kicked off 2024 by celebrating 11 graduates completing our Job Readiness & Personal Skillbuilding Apprenticeship program. Members gathered to discuss pivotal events in Black history as part of the Free Minds’ Black History Learning Group. In February, we partnered with a healing arts gallery to put on an amazing  spoken word event. Free Minds poets saw their poetry transformed into beautiful and compelling visual typographic art by college students at George Washington University.

Meanwhile Free Minds members home in the community continued to achieve and give back to the community: Antoine was selected as the next Congressman John Lewis Fellow, Damon organized an entrepreneurship event for Second Chance month in April, Anthony moved into his first-ever apartment (in a building constructed by his fellow Free Minds member Terry!), Deontae was promoted to a supervisor position at his warehouse job, and Lewis was selected to use his incredible artistic talents to create a public mural–just to name a few! We are so proud of all of our members who continue to work towards and achieve their goals.

 

First Free Minds Networking Day

On December 9, 2023 we hosted our first ever Free Minds Networking Day! Members were invited to attend with their families and friends, and connect with other members to promote their skills, market their services, share their experiences, and learn from one another.

Members also had the opportunity to share about their businesses and creative endeavors including books, candles, a clothing line, and a violence prevention nonprofit. Cornelious prepared food from his business to feed the attendees. On the menu was seafood mac & cheese, green beans with potatoes, fried cabbage, jasmine rice, beef meatballs, jerk chicken and fried chicken wings, and fried fish. There’s nothing better than a networking opportunity with good friends and food–yum! 

 

2024 Apprenticeship Graduates!

On February 1, 2024 we celebrated 11 graduating members from our Job Readiness & Personal Skillbuilding Apprenticeship program! The three day program provides our members with tools needed to pursue their educational and professional goals, such as financial literacy, digital/technological literacy, and tips for community building and engagement post-incarceration. Apprentices also took a tour of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, and got connected with the many wonderful resources available through the DC Public Library system.

The apprenticeship program also offered a great opportunity for members to hear from one another about their experiences readjusting to life post-incarceration, and how they’ve been able to navigate and make the most of their current skills. One member, Joe, shared an uplifting talk about his entrepreneurial journey as a personal trainer and owner of a wellness gym in DC. Participants also attended the Union Career & Resource Fair to learn about hiring opportunities and make connections.

Another huge congratulations to our graduates!

 

Black History Learning Group

Our Black History Learning Group, which was first launched in 2020, was reintroduced to our members in 2023. On the first Wednesday evening of every month, facilitators  Eyone and Charles lead discussions online around specific topics in Black history, such as the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Reconstruction, the Great Migration, and the Harlem Renaissance. These sessions are guided by YouTube videos created by author and Free Minds friend Clint Smith III. This group is a great opportunity for members to engage in leadership opportunities and learn more about significant moments in Black history.

Spoken Word Poetry Night

On February 8, 2024, Free Minds Poet Ambassadors shared their original poems and those of incarcerated members at Spoken Word & Poetry Night hosted by the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery! The event was part of the Disposition exhibition, which features art created by those impacted by the carceral system.

Poet Ambassadors Regina, Gene, Antoine, Lewis, and Damon shared their powerful and inspiring words in front of DC community members. The event was free and open to the public, but was completely sold out! Spoken Word & Poetry Night also took place during Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action and during Black History Month, setting the tone for an exciting evening celebrating Black voices and art.

Partnership with GW Typography Class

For the past few months, our On the Same Page community outreach program has been collaborating with undergraduate students at George Washington University to create visual art based on members’ poetry. FM members Regina, Davon, Delando, Ashley, Antoine, David, and Gary provided support, and both members and students were excited to transform poetry into visual art through typography. The poems were selected from our book When You Hear Me (You Hear Us): Voices on Youth Incarceration, and the students exhibited their final artwork on March 20, 2024.

Thank you to our supporters–our Free Minds community wouldn’t be the same without your encouragement every step of the way. Here’s to another year of achievements and growth opportunities for our members!

FM members at the first Free Minds Networking Day
FM members at the first Free Minds Networking Day
A speaker at the Job Readiness Apprenticeship
A speaker at the Job Readiness Apprenticeship
Poet Ambassadors at the Spoken Word & Poetry Night
Poet Ambassadors at the Spoken Word & Poetry Night
Antoine speaks to students at GW University
Antoine speaks to students at GW University
Visual artwork inspired by Free Minds poetry
Visual artwork inspired by Free Minds poetry

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Dec 1, 2023
Free Minds Members Continue to Excel!

By Isabel | Project Intern

Aug 4, 2023
Free Minds Members Creating Change

By Charlotte Lucas | Project Intern

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Organization Information

Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FreeMindsDC
Project Leader:
Tara Libert
Washington , DC United States
$46,471 raised of $55,000 goal
 
877 donations
$8,529 to go
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