FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) – The Sam M. Walton Business Communication Lab offered a writing workshop to the incarcerated youth at the Washington County Juvenile Detention Center. The partnership is giving these students a chance to showcase their best abilities on paper – mixing creativity and inspiration by creating zines- a unique way of storytelling.
From writing about sports to cosmetics to Youtube – students at the Washington County Juvenile Detention Center spent part of their summer putting pen to paper. “It’s really just a way for students to tell their stories in their own words in their own way,” Jessi Schnebelen said.
Schnebelen is the Asst. Director of the Walton Business Communication Lab and helps the students create zines as a way to express themselves as part of a new writing workshop. “Hopefully, we were able to empower them in a way so they can do things like apply for jobs or get a GED, catch up on their own school work and eventually apply for college,” Schnebelen said.
It started as a volunteer opportunity for Schnebelen at the detention center but became a partnership between her and teacher Josh Moody. “The more aware they are that there’s a community that’s investing in them, the more they’ll invest in their community,” Moody said.
Moody says this was just one of many programs they’ve put on for the kids with the community’s help – teaching them that what they’re going through now is just a chapter in their book of life. “There are a lot of good kids that make a lot of mistakes,” Moody said. “I just hope the community is aware that it’s not time to throw away the keys on these kids. Do not give up on them,” Moody said.
Schnebelen says the student’s work can be seen across the nation. Their zine books have been featured at a festival in North Carolina and can even be seen on social media which shows them how their work is impacting others. “I think you can kind of see those aha moments, okay this is a type of literacy, a type of skill that I’m good at and could potentially teach others,” Schnebelen said.
The school is already planning on offering even more programs in the future for the students.