Sunday, March 21, 2010

Writing as a healthy coping strategy

In recent years I have come to rely on writing .... my morning practice of journaling has been a life saver for me, a creative outlet. For youth at The Lab, a program of St. Paul Public Schools, they are shown this writing way as a healthy way to cope with life's stressors.

I've been volunteering at The Lab now for a year and a half .... my involvement has been in their animal assisted education as I partner with my dog Ahnung. As we walk through the hallways toward the rec center (where The Lab provides animal assisted education) we pass the "Writing Lab". We peak in the room and see a circle of youth, pen to paper -- writing, sharing, expressing, creating, exploring.... we feel a soft, gentle energy in the room. Each circle begins with an opening ritual:

Everyone in the circle is equal
No one’s voice is more important than anyone else’s
Everyone in the circle is a teacher
Everyone in the circle is a student
Everyone has his or her turn to speak within the circle
When one is speaking, all others listen
The circle is sacred and special

For so many of us, and especially youth who come to The Lab, they do not know they have a voice. For the time they are at The Lab they have a voice and what they say matters.

The image above is a sneak preview of the Poetry Anthology cover, vol VIII which The Lab is hoping to get published at the end of the month. Youth have the opportunity to see their poem(s) in print. The Lab needs to raise $500 by March 31st to print these anthologies and would like to give two copies to every student who has a poem published in the anthology. Imagine the smile on the face of one of these students ... can you donate even just $10, or $15, or $25 to The Lab to help with publishing costs? Will you be a part of making student 'J' happy to see his poem in print?


I need to re-evaluate my anger towards my mother.
I need to re-evaluate my anger towards my family.
I need to re-evaluate my stress.

We need to re-evaluate
and look at what's going wrong in the world.

We need to re-evaluate
the sadness and the stress.

We need to re-evaluate
the cause of pain for our loved ones and the ones who love us.

We just need to re-evaluate.

You can make a donation to The Lab online by clicking here. Or, if you would prefer to write a check, please make your check out to The Lab and mail it to:

The Lab at Homecroft
St. Paul Public Schools
Attn: Mary Tinucci, Program Coordinator
1845 Sheridan Ave
St. Paul, MN 55116

Although Ahnung is a part of the Animal Assisted Education work at The Lab (and has not yet participated in the Writing Group -- maybe some day they will invite us :) she believes (and so do i!) in the transformational healing that these writing circles provide to youth at The Lab. She's going to kick off this fundraising effort with a $50 donation to The Lab. She's dreaming (in the photo to the right) of these students being able to see their poems in print ... so PLEASE, PLEASE consider making a donation -- no amount is too small.

Click here to make a donation! Donations need to be received by March 31st.

1 comment:

  1. I sure do hope more people donate! That would be great, right Ahnung?