College & High School Program
Herstory’s Youth Writing for Justice program brings high school students whose lives have been impacted by discrimination, poverty and inequality of opportunity to college campuses to write together with college students for 2-hour-long weekly workshops throughout the school year. In workshops conducted in English and Spanish, participants are asked to write about an issue they care deeply about, something that happened to them or that they witnessed. As participants learn how to weave their own stories into powerful pieces of writing exploring racial justice, police practices, discrimination against immigrants, and the impact of mass incarceration on families and communities, they develop shared actions around the policies that affect their communities the most.
As the young people write together, side by side, the college students acquire new lenses through which to experience the needs of the populations they are studying and will eventually serve, while the high school students-- many representing the first generation in their families for whom college is an option—begin to imagine new educational and career possibilities.
This ongoing project was voted among the top programs in community-based learning funded by New York State Council on the Arts and is featured in the April 2014 newsletter and yearly journal of best practices by NYSUT (New York State Union of Teachers).
They Dare to Care - NYSUT Newsletter April 2014 (click here for the entire article)
The Guided Memoir Process / A Reflection in Three Voices (click here for the article)
To read student stories posted on NYSUT website, click here
On the Campus of Hofstra University…
Students from Long Beach High School write with undergraduate students from Hofstra University (Criminology, Psychology and the Center for Civic Engagement). College and high school students continue with this popular program year after year, forming a close knit community, with an abundance of opportunities to share their stories with representatives of the City of Long Beach, the City Council and the school district, to effect equity and change in the community. A number of the students, both college and high school become involved in Herstory’s other programs and train to become facilities. To watch a video about Herstory at Hofstra and find information about our other campus programs, click here.
A new course is being offered bringing together beginning criminology students and people returning from decades in prison to write side by side.
On the Campus of Stony Brook University…
In this workshop, offered in partnership with the Humanities Institute of Stony Brook University, English language learners from Latin America, honors students and students from the anti-bullying club at Patchogue- Medford High School write side by side with college students in a truly bilingual format, while exploring opportunities for publication and public presentations.
In Partnership with Adelphi University at Queens High School for Teaching and Learning…
Advanced education students, English and ESL teachers-in-training will be able to satisfy their observation credits while studying how Herstory’s pedagogy might be applied to their own field placements, their future work and the educational field in general.
On the campus of LIU Post…
Education, Health Care, Administration, Sociology, English and Psychology graduate and undergraduate students write with Creole, Spanish and English-speaking students from Westbury High School, with the goal of building bridges of understanding and mutual empowerment. This program will be featured at Long Island’s Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network quarterly convening in October of 2018.
On the Campus of Adelphi University…
The Liberty Partnership Program will offer Saturday morning Herstory workshop to students from Hempstead Middle and High Schools.
In partnership with Nassau BOCES…
The Twilight Program in Glen Cove, will engage four young people trained at Hofstra’s Facilitator Training Institute will be doing their field placements giving back to young immigrant students.
Students from Nassau BOCES Twilight program’s alternative high schools in Baldwin and Uniondale come together to write stories for justice, with a focus on racial justice, immigrants’ rights and protection of the LGBTQ community.
At Hempstead High School…
Herstory conducts 4 Wednesday morning writing workshops for newcomer students each week, while Brave Journeys, Herstory’s book of stories by 15 young people who crossed the border by themselves has become required reading for 2 English Regents Preparatory classes. An entire semester is spent studying the stories that mirror the lives of the newcomers—five days a week—while students are helped to find their voices and validate their own journeys and stories.
At Central Islip High School…
A ten-week workshop, along with professional development, takes place every year for young people who crossed the border by themselves, with the stories produced appearing on the Long Island Wins Website and in a new student-written bilingual anthology, Brave Journeys/ Pasos valientes, which is being adopted by an increasing number of school districts. This workshop takes place during the school day as part of the ELL curriculum.
As these semester-long workshops progress, the students slowly began to realize that their stories are not isolated, and that many of their lived experiences are the result of systems failure rather than personal failure. As a result, not only are their feelings of helplessness and vulnerability reduced, but many of them become interested in trying to change the systems that are affecting their lives. Over these past 5 years, Herstory staff has been able to engage a few of these students in change-oriented activities, particularly in efforts to raise the age of juvenile incarceration in adult facilities, to stop the practice of isolated confinement especially for teens, to raise awareness at public and targeted readings of the issues faced by youth living in disadvantaged communities, of abuse, discrimination, incarceration, addiction, violence and more. Staff has observed the extent to which these experiences outside the classroom have empowered the participating students. The majority of participating students come back semester after semester, as their schedules allow.
In the words of Kelly Das, the teacher/escort from Long Beach High School, “I have witnessed transformation. I have witnessed lives being saved. I always felt so alone in my quest to inspire young minds and build bridges of motivation and hope for the younger generation. I felt like my efforts were never making a big enough impact. Through my involvement with Herstory I feel like I am beginning to make more strides in my quest to help my students. For that I am eternally grateful.”