By Terrah Baker
Writing for the Soul Workshop of Northwest Arkansas, that features therapeutic writing techniques, just concluded one of their workshops geared towards troubled youth. It was created to provide an outlet for all teens, but specifically those who were struggling in school and society.
Writing for the Soul is the brainchild of TGIM Digital Publishing company CEO Eric Jones. His program trains and certifies other coordinators, so each can work to implement the program in their area. The curriculum of the workshop includes some of the Common Core principles, but also branches out. Students write from a provided topic and mentors assist youth with structure of the main idea and what specifics they want to cover about their topic.
Last month, students wrote on the topic of “who or what inspires them.” Some of the choices included Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., Josephine Baker and music. While the program was developed to help troubled youth, all students are allowed in the program.
Leora Jackson is a certified coordinator for Writing for the Soul, and said she sees this as a form of therapy, especially for areas or cities with higher juvenile delinquency rates.
“Teens are able to write about their struggles, their pain, depression, hurts and fears and have mentors, life coaches and others to help them out,” Jackson said.
At each workshop, children and others attending eat food, as poverty rates are high in the areas they work and providing a nice meal “helps in some significant way,” Jackson said. They also experience entertainment through music, poetry, singing and public speaking. They recruit local talent to provide entertainment, mentoring and facilitating of the workshops.
The workshop is supported by funds from sponsors and through children’s and community events. This month, Writing for the Soul will hold a Comedy Variety Showcase to help fund future workshops and sponsor more children. At Teatro Scarpinos in Fayetteville, Saturday, March 29, from 8 p.m. – 1 a.m., local comedians, poets, singers, and more will perform for a Writing for the Soul fundraiser. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.
To learn more about upcoming workshops like the one on March 29 at the Jones Center in Springdale from 2 – 4 p.m., where children will discover “the writing inside,” visit www.bbdnwa.com.