What’s your Opinion?

August 29, 2023: Arlington County Detention Facility, Community Readiness Unit (CRU)“An editorial is an opinionated news story. Editorials are designed to persuade readers to take a particular position, vote a particular way or view a situation in a specific way.” That was the assignment to our 15 writers in the CRU class at the Arlington County Detention Facility. The first part was pretty easy – identify your issue and your position and three facts to support it. Then came the hard part: What is the opposing position? That’s hard for any of us, right? Most of us entrench ourselves in our position and typically seek out facts that justify that.

Our 15 writers were rightfully proud of themselves for putting themselves in the other person’s shoes and wanted to share their work with you. We were especially interested in those opinions around the carceral system, and the viewpoint of those on the inside.

Click here to read the submissions!

Improving with Improv

March 27, 2023: The Arlington County Detention Facility (ACDF) is another place we haven’t been too in the last few years (yep, COVID again) and we just couldn’t wait to begin with them this year. We kicked off our series with about 15 men in the Community Readiness Unit (CRU) – a competitive program for those about to be released. We have worked with the CRU before and they are always so excited and eager for our classes!

After a 5-week creative writing program, we began improvisation in March. Improv is always a hit in detention centers, and there’s no one better than our Keely Kirk to lead the way. In fact, this month she’s teaching improvisation at Friends of Guest House, the Arlington County Detention Center, and virtually at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center in Winchester, Virginia.

How’s it going? Fabulously! Here’s a mashup of Keely’s after-class emails at the ACDF:

“All of the gentlemen participated. They had a great time and many of them said they can’t wait to see me next week. I had another thousand percent class – no other way to put it. They love their improv and what I’m bringing them. They’re so attentive and so into it and so engaged and everyone’s participating, even the quiet ones. They leave the class in a much different mood….Each week I review what we’ve been learning and they’re not only telling me what we’ve been learning, they’re also putting it into use so it’s really great!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we’re posting a few photos from the men’s CRU class in Arlington and the women’s class in Winchester: