Local Inmates Win Awards for Creative Writing Contest, The Zebra, September 6, 2021

One of our favorite parts about our annual writing contests that we hold with the Alexandria Adult Detention Center and the Arlington County Detention Facility is the enthusiasm of our returning judges to be part of this event. Each of them has a strong background in writing, editing, and publishing, and each year they tell me and our authors (during the awards ceremonies) how much they appreciate this honor. Our judge Mary Wadland, Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, gives an insightful and interesting glimpse into what she learned and how she felt reading these inmate’s stories. “The Claw“, the first place fiction winner from the Alexandria Adult Detention Center, “had me on the edge of my seat…”, she write. Me too. Read Mary’s entire feature here.

Our Director, Jane Collins, on Fox 5 DC

Did you know our founder and executive director, Jane Collins, is also an Air Force veteran? She served from 1981 – 2009 as an active duty and reservist, and was also attached to an Air National Guard unit in Springfield, Ohio. Talk about total force! Jane retired at the rank of colonel and continued serving in her post-Air Force life. Listen as Gwen Tolbart of DC Fox 5 interviews her about the importance of sharing stories as part of the Library of Congress’ Veteran’s Stories: The Veterans History Project. This is the largest oral history project in U. S. History.

Are you a veteran? You need to be heard! Share your story here.

From the Alexandria Gazette Packet – Voices to be Heard

“We are extremely grateful for Heard’s continued outreach and engagement with those in our custody.”

— Sheriff Dana Lawhorne

And we are grateful to the Alexandria Gazette Packet for promoting the winners of our writing contest with the Alexandria Adult Detention Center. You are always so supportive of our work! Btw, did you know that you made Mr. Pixley and Mr. Talbert’s day? They were each given a copy of your article and were sooooo happy! Thank you for allowing them to be heard! Scroll down to page 7 to see our winners or read it here:


From ALXnow.com – Tales of regret and hope win in creative writing contest at the Alexandria Jail

In his award-winning poem “I Cry”, Anthony Talbert laments over being incarcerated in the Alexandria Jail.

“Growing up I was told that the eyes are the windows to the soul,” reads Talbert’s poem. “So I cry to cleanse my soul of all the torment it holds.”

You can’t not be moved by Talbert’s first-place poem and the tears he sheds for everyone – you, me, Jesus, himself. You can read his entire work and more about our writing contest in Alxnow.com


Tales of regret and hope win in creative writing contest at the Alexandria Jail

Annual Writing Contest Offers Alexandria Inmates Creative Outlet, Opportunity to be Heard

“We are extremely grateful for Heard’s continued outreach and engagement with those in our custody,” Sheriff Lawhorne said.

And we are grateful to you, Sheriff Lawhorne, for inviting us back to hold our annual writing contest with the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center again. Once again we laughed, cried, and were generally blown away by the honesty and courage of our authors. Congratulations to your winners, and a special shoutout to Caudron Megary, Blackburn Wealth Management Group for sponsoring this event.

The list of winners and a link to the first-place winning poem (and it’s amazing!) is here.


Making Change with Catherine Read

We always love our time with Catherine Read, the genius behind ReadThinkAct.com and a true walk-the-walk social activist. Catherine is also a strategist, activist, advocate, speaker, trainer and a host of two weekly television shows and a live radio show on the Fairfax Public Access Channel. I was privileged to be her guest on one of those radio shows, Making Change, on March 18, where I spoke about Heard’s exciting plans for world domination, or at least for sharing how we are ready to help those in need in all communities through art.