Hakim Bellamy shares this important announcement with us.
Dear friends and poets,
For the past three years we - Jessie Workman and Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski - have been teaching a poetry and performance program entitled BREATH (Building a Revolution of Expression and Action Through Heartwork) at two youth detention facilities in Albuquerque. We are looking to fill both of our positions. Following is some information about how BREATH began, our mission, and our purpose.
During October 2007, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski and Cynthia Ruffin visited both the male and female populations at YDDC while on the statewide tour of "BAGGAGE", a play that deals with the issue of domestic violence and women of colour in New Mexico. In discussions that followed both shows, the youth expressed their strong interest in writing and their desire for a program that would allow them to write and share their own personal stories. "BREATH" was birthed out of these discussions.
- To institute a program that teaches poetry and performance skills to the incarcerated youth at the YDDC.
- Create a "Safe Space" in an institutionalized setting with alternative priorities.
- Create a format which allows for self expression and in which repressed voices can be heard
- Create a positive performance space with the intention of a show of the youth's collected works with family members, YDDC staff, and other invited individuals from outside of the organization.
Goals: Resilience will be built among the incarcerated youth involved in the program and they will gain creative coping skills to take with them when they are paroled to other programs or back into the community. Youth involved in the program will learn
- accountability for their actions and words as they work in a setting where the standards have been collectively set for them to be responsible for their own words as well as respectful of the words of others.
- to use writing as a tool and an outlet for self-reflection and self-expression.
- that they have alternate options to acting out self destructively such as journaling, poetry, and spoken word.
- and improve creative literacy and writing skills in an environment where "slang", "spanglish" and "freestyling" are acknowledged as valid literary styles.
- to build self-esteem and trust in an environment that validates who they are as individuals that will result in their increasing ability to access their own personal strengths and to speak with confidence.
- community and ensemble building skills and be able to take these skills with them when they are paroled to other programs or when they are no longer incarcerated.
We are quickly looking to fill both of our positions as co-creators and co-facilitators of the program. The requirements for these positions are:
- must be willing to commit to one year of leading this program
- must have teaching experience and/or a strong passion for working with youth
- must be a "poet"- no matter what form this may take in your life and creative work- (say wut?!)
- must be flexible, open, and willing to work within a prison environment where poetry is not a priority, and creativity is treated as a "privilege" not a right.
- a dedicated, loving, creative leader.
The Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) funds this project through paying each teacher 6hrs/week at $20/hr ($120 a week per person). They also provide supplies as needed, and admin support.
- working with one other teacher to create a weekly curriculum
- consistent communication with both facilities, as well as with the SFAI.
- teaching three 2 hour groups, one day a week
Once we have hired two new teachers, we will begin the process of getting your clearance. We are hoping to train for four weeks before handing over the program If you know of other people who you think may be interested in this work, please feel free to pass along the message!
Hope all is beautiful and blossoming in ya world, and we look forward to hearing from you! Respect, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski and Jessie Workman