Long Creek volunteer Bill Lundgren of Portland, on a break from his high school English teaching career, started to work with a group of teenagers from the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.
Long Creek volunteer Bill Lundgren of Portland, on a break from his high school English teaching career, started to work with a group of teenagers from the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland. The stories also share a vision of hope and optimism and an unexpected belief in mainstream life. Many wrote about their hopes for college, an interesting job and their own families. Lundgren consults with the Teachers College Student Press Initiative at Columbia University. The group has produced collections of stories from teenagers incarcerated at the Rikers Island Correction facility in New York and students in New York City public schools.
Six Teachers College instructors and a member of the Columbia University Oral History Association helped interview and record the teenagers' stories. The youths then spent the next six months revising their narratives, editing them down from 30 to a half-dozen pages or less.
Little did they know that the writing group they joined for something to do would end up publishing a book, "Smoke Signals: Oral Histories From Long Creek," and that people would show up to hear about it.
This article appeared in the April 7, 2007 edition of the Portland Press Herald.
Published Friday, Apr. 13, 2007