About InsideOUT Writers
InsideOUT Writers (IOW) is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports currently and formerly incarcerated youth and young adults with healing and trauma-informed creative writing classes inside Los Angeles County Juvenile Halls. We help youth develop their identities, agency, and orientation towards a purposeful future. In our 25-year history, we have served over 25,000 youth with our art-based creative writing classes. In 2009, IOW created the Alumni Program to provide re-entry support services and connect our alumni members with private and public community resources in essential areas such as access to medical care, housing, parenting support services, mental health services, drug and/or alcohol abuse treatment programs, and other public assistance programs.
All clients and members of the Alumni Program receive an Individual Action Plan (IAP) and a needs assessment that then determines short and long-term goals. Nearly all Alumni Program participants have a goal of either becoming gainfully employed, obtaining their high school diploma or earning their GED, or enrolling in college. We also provide an array of pro-social activities including life skills workshops, community engagement to develop their leadership skills, field trips including camping trips, and weekly Writing Circles. Our trips to the mountains, lakes, and beaches, in particular, are effective because many of our youth have never been outside of the city, and introducing them to natural environments has often assisted them with deeper introspections and healing from trauma through reflective writing exercises. These experiences and connections to nature have allowed us to open their minds, have candid conversations over a bonfire, and see the transformation that takes place when you take youth away from the city. To date, over 300 youth and young adults have received services through our Alumni Program.