Voices UnBroken

Award Recipients - 2001

Victoria Sammartino, Founder


Voices UnBroken provides poetry and writing experiences to young people as a way “to facilitate a healing of self-worth and a transformation in life-path decisions.”  Workshops focus on reaching youth living in institutionalized settings such as prisons, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters but also work with youth in public schools and community centers.  “The goal is to have young people care about their lives, understand the society that has shaped them and become active in the struggle for social justice.  
Since 1998, Ms.  Sammartino has run a weekly workshop at the Riker’s Island high school encouraging the women to transform how they think about life outside prison and arranging for publication of their poems.  Similar workshops are conducted across the city in a women’s detention facility, a transitional institution for young women preparing for a high school equivalency diploma, a youth detention facility and an institution for foster children.  
Voice unbroken is working with a social services agency to help design and implement the writing component of a pre-college program for inmates across the state.  The goal is to start or identify exiting programs and find ways to support them “as a step to getting college programs back into the prisons.

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