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Dear Reader,

This book is the final product of a six week long storytelling journey in which 39 young writers, poets, artists, and most importantly, humans came together and worked as partners, sharing with each other their own life stories--a part of their identity and something that makes them who they are. What you will be reading is the compilation of the physical works some of these humans created in hopes of sharing their life beyond this storytelling group -with you and any other reader who chooses to delve into our lives and what they offer.

As you immerse yourself in the stories inscribed within each page, you may notice that some of these storytellers used art to capture these fragments of their lives, whereas others chose written reflections. These variances reflect the storytellers individualities and differences, something that cannot be set aside. Nonetheless, these works may also exhibit the bonds these storytellers formed along the way. Indeed, getting to know each other became a by-product of sharing these stories.

However, if you at one point are unable to see the bonds and connections that we, the storytellers, so inevitably expected to form along this journey, then you are not wrong. Along this journey, we found that some of us were quick to connect, whilst many others were still in the process even when our time together had come to an end. Thus, in making this book, we, as the storytellers, feel the need to acknowledge that humans are complicated beings. We may be all different, our backgrounds polar ends, our circumstances extreme or easy, yet being a human is what we all ultimately share. As you now read the many stories, you may then be able to see this shared humanity reflected on each page.

Ultimately, we wanted to create something that captured the youth and spirit of our work and more importantly our storying process. We hope you see this reflected in the different dynamics of each page, each section and the whole book itself.

This book compiles our time together and now we are sharing it with you.

Publication Date



University of Richmond


Richmond, Virginia


storytelling, social change, juvenile detention



2019 Storytelling and Social Change Stories

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Communication Commons