On August 21, 2017, the Youth Justice sector of BRIDGES USA met with 9 of incarcerated youth at Jail East. The two-hour long session was held to begin training for the third cohort of Youth Speaking Out for Change – a collective of incarcerated youth who publicly speak and advocate for lessening youth violence and recidivism rates. This first session was intended to begin to explore the youth’s life story through personal reflection, and highlight how that personal reflection is integral to systemic change.
The agenda for the session followed a structure that would allow the youth to become accustomed to an environment that encompasses cooperative skills, creativity and critical thinking capabilities.
After check-ins, where everyone has the opportunity to share what they are bringing into the space and ask for any ways of support, the youth participated in an activity designed to bring energy into the space and break the monotony of incarceration, as well as to introduce the topic of the day’s session through a debrief. In the debrief, the facilitator asked questions to generate a conversation around importance of systemic reflection/action as it relates to the trajectory of the group.
Next, the facilitator led the group in the overall trajectory of the group:
Finally, the facilitator concluded by passing out composition books and stressed the importance of reflecting over your life stories. Each youth was charged with writing a reflection piece by next week’s session.
The session ended with each person in the room going around saying how they felt after the day’s session.