‘Nelson’s Smile’ by Cody L.

by Lindsay Weber for the Chicago Tribune

I’m in.

The phrase has so many meanings for the detainees at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago. The four walls they’re in. The situation they’re in. The amount of time they’re in. And temporary is a very loose term that can sometimes mean years.

For the students of Free Write Arts and Literacy, for two hours, they’re in — as they declare at the start of each class. They’re in for the challenge, they’re in for the opportunity, they’re in to tell their story.

Since 2000, Free Write has facilitated creative writing workshops, one-on-one literacy tutoring, and arts programming for those detained in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and court-involved young people in the community.

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