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:

Mind Your Manners!

Don’t you love when the student is the teacher? We had so much fun with Space of Her Own, a local nonprofit exclusively created to support fifth grade girls. Over the course of a few weeks in February and March 2022, the girls learned that good manners can make a difference! They may help her land that job one day, or make a great first impression. We ended our series with lessons on table manners, and Space of Her Own was amazing enough to provide a fabulous dinner of chicken, warm potato salad, veggies, and cake.

Before dinner the girls reviewed what they learned. Yes, they had practiced setting the table at home (to the delight of some very happy parents) and even taught their mentors a thing or two. (Fork tines down, not up, when you are finished). Huge shoutout to our etiquette teacher, Fannie Allen, of The Allen Protocol and Leadership Institute, for showing these girls these critical life skills.