Prison Creative Arts Program Internship: Halfway Point

Being apart of this internship has showed me that there is always work to be done when in comes to creative arts work in and out of the incarceration setting. After corresponding to over 20 letters from incarcerated individuals, the following week over 20 more letters came in. It only seemed like a lot because of the detail that went into reading each letter, making sure I responded in the right way, and making sure the person I was writing to was in the PCAP mailing list system. On top of that, I started working on the newsletter, which is a project in itself. It involves compiling all the articles sent from the different people that work in PCAP, editing them, and sending them to a specific email for formatting purposes. The people we send it to for formatting will send the newsletter back to me and I will begin the process of sending them out to the different prison across the state of Michigan. I have also been facilitating a theater workshop at Women’s Huron Valley every Monday, along with facilitating a creative arts workshop with Wolverine Pathways in association with PCAP. Writing all of this sounds like a lot and by the end of the day I am quite tired, but I go to sleep feeling fulfilled knowing that this internship is one step further towards what I am trying to do. I received a letter recently from an incarcerated individual who had been given life in prison. He spoke about how two other facilitators and I came to his prison and facilitated a theater workshop. He stated how he was in a deep depression and was close to calling it quits until he attended our workshop. He said that it made him feel like a human again and he hadn’t experienced that much fun and joy since being a little kid. It’s letters like that that puts the internship and reasons for facilitating these workshops in perspective. I am looking to research how creative arts impact mental health in people, ages 14 and older. This internship so far has given me a behind the scenes look at what goes into keeping the connections with the lives that we have touched through the workshops, as well as the work that goes into keeping the program running. I definitely value this experience so far. I feel that it is going to make me well-rounded in this journey. I am still trying to think about how to best articulate the specific skills I am learning on a resume, but that is something I hope to be able to articulate by the end of the internship.

edwilli

I am a senior studying Acting Performing in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and I also major in Psychology in the School of Literature, Science, and Arts.

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