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Untold Stories

Artist: D.D. ! Facility Name: Juniper Hills High School @JCC-Nampa !


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Š 2013 Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings!

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2013 Edition!

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All rights reserved. This eBook is licensed for your personal ! enjoyment only and may not be re-sold to others. No part of this ! book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior ! permission of the publisher (except for educational purposes or by reviewers who may quote brief passages). Thank you for ! ! respecting the hard work of these writers.! ! ! !


Author: M.G. !

! Teacher’s Name: A. Marlow! ! Facility Name: Juniper Hills High School @JCC-Nampa ! ! State: Idaho

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Beautiful Agony Reaching for the light of existence is something that I never thought I would have

to do. Looking for the next remedy to help me soar to bliss once again, is a pain so indescribable that I looked for more to ease it. I never considered I would sign my soul over to the devil so quickly, but I did. The moment my mind was taken over, the innocence could not be stopped from flowing out of every pore of my being. And then I met euphoria. I was no longer trapped in an existence that was neither life nor death; I was free! The cold metal that held the sacred nectar meeting my veins was like fire, burning the memories of an old life, leaving a scar that symbolized a new existence. The rush of “heaven” was what I hunted on a daily basis, and I felt like not even the highest of angels could condemn me. I was my own God, and everything was in my control. It still amazes me how quickly my reign ended, and I was left to my own daunting thoughts. No longer was I in control, the monster held my soul in his hands, and it amused him by how quickly I reacted to my own lack of oxygen. It was my breath, life, happiness, best friend, worst enemy, and downfall, all composed to form one small pebble of ash.


Without it, I was nothing. Without it, I went senseless. With it, I was insane. With it, I was fierce. With it, I was the maker of my own defeat. I was weak, and helpless; I was nothing. Long nights spent in jail were suffocating, and agonizing. I knew nothing of life outside of pain and craving. And then, I was shown the light of sobriety; I was shown how to take back the bond that held my soul, and, without a second glance, I walked away from the bind of the monster. Here I am, in a room filled with people who have walked in my shoes, and I, theirs. Wanting the same thing, and needing a new life. We each have our own struggles and triumphs. We each possess a resiliency that can never be taken from us. The realization that we hold the key to our own destiny is motivation to keep going. The understanding of why we do things is like opening your eyes, after having them shut your whole life; you can finally see the glow of the world. We are like roses, and life is like dirt, each of us goes through a lot of dirt to get to the place we want to be. And you can either choose to be sad that every rose has a thorn, or you can be grateful that every thorn possesses a rose. Ultimately, the power to choose is yours.

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Artist: S.A.!

! ! Teacher’s Name: D. Christie! ! ! Facility Name: Pinellas Juvenile Detention Facility ! ! State:Florida

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Author: M.R. !

! Teacher’s Name: H. Sheppard! ! Facility Name: Cypress School @OGA! !

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State: Florida

! My Untold Story… Behind every smile, there's a story. Nobody knows what the next person has been through and are often so quick too judge. Many are quick to call me a “hoe” all because I chose to sleep with someone, not knowing anything I've been through. Did they know I was molested by my one of my childhood friend's dad for longer than it should have been going on in only elementary school, when I was still a baby? That I had to testify when I was only 11? Did they know that not too long after that I was raped? And two months after that, I was raped again? This time by someone I thought I could trust; someone who was very important to me. Do they know all the pain in my heart? All the tears I cry? Or do they see the nightmares I see every night, always scared to fall asleep? Do they feel the fear I feel, when every place I go, I’m scared that someone is going to take me and do bad things too me all over again? Do they feel my nervousness that he’s going to get out of jail soon and come looking for me? I’m lucky that after all of that has happened to me that I don’t have a disease. I feel as if I have a wound on my body that just digs deeper and deeper, and it will never heal, because it always continues to get hurt and infected. Will it ever heal?


People don’t know what I’ve been through, so they can’t feel my struggle. Everything that has happened to someone in their life takes a toll on them, the way they think and the way they are. And they will never be the same again. I’m not blaming my past on my decisions, but it does have something to do with who I am today. Maybe disobeying will work, and if that doesn’t, maybe weed will. If those two don’t, what about sex to get your mind off things? If not that, how about you just run away or try a harder drug to numb all the pain? Why care about myself, with all that’s happened to me? Why did all of it happen to me? What did I ever do to deserve it? How am I still alive? Will the obstacles ever stop? Do you know how it feels to have so many questions that will never get answered? My story made me who I am today and if nobody’s got me, I got me.

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Artist: M.B.!

! Teacher’s Name: A. Long! !

Facility Name: Arkansas Consolidated High School @ AJATC!

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State: Arkansas

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Author: M.B. !

! Teacher’s Name: R. McLane! ! Facility Name: Camp Summit Boot Camp! !

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State: Indiana

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My Stay at Camp Summit Boot Camp When I arrived at Camp Summit Boot Camp, I learned that I was given another chance! I can get productive in my school work, get my GED, and prepare myself for when I get out. I came to Camp Summit to work on my attitude. Instead of my judge just letting me go home, he knew I would continue to behave the same way that I was doing in the beginning. He sent me off because he knew it was better for me. He wanted to test me to see how well I behaved myself in boot camp. To show him and my family that I am better now than I was before (acting when I was out on the streets), I was given a chance to improve and to be respectful, a new and better person. I was given a chance to get my schooling, college, and work ready for when I return home to my family and my community! The moment I walked thru the door at Camp Summit, I felt weird. I heard people marching; I saw other kids and young men doing pushups. I saw some running around big dirt track, others were playing basketball. All the staff and DI’s had big attitudes, like they were going to work me to death! So I was thinking to myself what, did I get myself into now. I knew I was going to hate myself for my actions, and my behaviors that led me here.


So, I have been doing what I have to do to get my GED and my social behavior has improved. Ever since I have been here I have been working so hard! I did pushups, situps, and ran the mile everyday almost for two weeks, then we all only did it every weekend early in the morning. I’ve been so worn out; I just want to sleep at night. My body is so sore, however, now my body has become used to the work outs, and yes, it is still a hard workout. But I can do it and I will do it till the day I leave Camp Summit! My time here has been hard, but great. I’m working in the kitchen and doing detail helping staff, and doing a great job on my program. From this point I have two months and two weeks left, as long I keep my all points up to 100% and higher! As long as I keep this up, I will be home free real soon.

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Artist: M.B.!

! Teacher’s Name: R. McLane ! ! Facility Name: Camp Summit Boot Camp! ! State: Indiana

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Author: J.V.!

! Teacher’s Name: D. Christie! ! Facility Name: Pinellas Juvenile Detention Facility ! ! State: Florida

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Mom on Drugs “What happened to the powder on the coffee table?” my mom asked, bursting through my bedroom door. “I threw it away—it didn't look like it was for anything.” “Next time, ask,” she said, slamming the door on the way out of the house. When she returned about an hour later, she looked dysfunctional. “What’s wrong, mom?” I asked. “Nothing,” she responded. So I went to my room. About an hour later my sister walked in. “Where’s mom? Shouldn’t she be home by now?” Confused, I checked the living room. My mother was gone, and there was a straw on the table where the powder had been previously. I hurried outside. There she was, in our car. I approached warily. When I opened the door, she looked at me as if she didn’t know who I was. “What are you doing?” I asked her. “Someone is trying to steal the car,” she replied. There was nobody in sight. “Do you know where you are?” “Maybe,” she answered. I escorted her to the house and told her to lie down. She flipped out on me. “Don’t you tell me what to do!”


I retreated to my room and dozed off. I woke up to my mom out on the patio yelling at the top of her lungs: “YOU WILL NEVER GET MY CAR!” I went to the store to get away from her. When I got back, I perceived two shadowy figures through my living room window, arguing. One of the figures raised her hand as if to hit the other one. I sprinted up to our house, opened the door, and dashed inside. I was stunned to see my sister with a mark on her face the size of my palm, and my mom with a cold smile that quickly transformed into a look of guilt. I helped my sister to her room. When I asked her what happened, she pulled out a bag of powder, the same powder I found on the coffee table. I flushed it down the toilet and went to bed. I woke up at 2:00 a.m. to the sound of loud banging on the front door. I looked out the peephole and saw a man with a flashlight wearing a black shirt. Just then, my mom dashed out of her room. “Thanks for coming officer. Someone is trying to steal my car,” she said. He gave her a skeptical look. “I saw them with my own eyes using a coat hanger to break in,” she persisted. Can you give me a description, ma’am?” The officer asked. “Um, not really.” The officer just shook his head. The next morning I was making my breakfast when my mom darted to the door screaming, “You will never get it.” She kept it up all day until she finally collapsed on the couch and said the sanest thing she said all weekend: “Do you think I’m crazy?” “No,” I answered. “That powder—that’s crazy.”

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Artist: E.D.!

! Teacher’s Name: T. Robbins! ! Facility Name: Promise Jr. /Sr. High School @ MJCF! ! State: Indiana

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Author: S.H.!

! Teacher’s Name: T. Robbins! ! Facility Name: Promise Jr./Sr. High School @MJCF! ! State: Indiana

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The Gift of Life I woke up cold, freezing to be exact. My eyes were closed, so everything around me was pitch black. No memories of the night before came rushing back to me like they normally do when I wake up. I heard the ping of rain outside. A sudden agonizing pain hit my wrists. I felt the throb and the warming burn. I heard my bedroom door creak open and noticed my brother’s voice, “Sissy…Oh my god what did you do!?! Sissy…sissy! Wake up!!” I heard the panic in his voice which made me open my eyes, but when I did he was gone. I didn’t remember falling asleep the night before…in fact I didn’t even remember. No, I do remember. It’s all rushing back… so many images…so much crying…too much blood. The feeling of relief and the pain it is now causing. I laid there on the floor…I looked at the bloody carpet which used to be pink. I smelled the vodka that must have spilled out somewhere. I felt numb. I felt my life start to slip away. I saw my grandparents and the EMT’s rush into my room. Suddenly everything went black and nothing made sense. I remember waking up in a hospital room. An annoying beeping sound woke me up. I opened my eyes quicker this time. I immediately knew where I was: Koscuisko


Community Hospital. My grandparents weren’t in the room, but a tiny pixy-like nurse was. She looked over at me, smiled a sympathetic smile and said, “How do you feel sweetheart?” I shrugged a little. How was I supposed to feel? I mean yeah, I was in a little shock and really tired. I couldn’t help but wonder what to feel. The nurse quickly asked, “Sweety, do you remember anything?” I shook my head. “About what?” She looked down and then back up, “Well, last night you were upset weren’t you?” I tried to remember. “I remember being depressed…very depressed. I also remember getting vodka and the razor blade…” Tears streamed down my face. She sat on the edge of my bed. “Honey your life is very valuable. We want to help you not be so depressed to the point where you think death is the only way out. Your family wants you to be happy.” I started shaking and crying so hard. I then realized that I was here because I almost died. My life in that very moment became so important to me. I promised myself I’d never take it for granted again.

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Artist: M.R.!

! Teacher’s Name: H. Sheppard! ! Facility Name: Cypress School @ OGA! ! State: Florida

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Author: N.P.!

! Teacher’s Name: J. Willis! ! Facility Name: Vantage Pointe Learning Center @L.J.C.F.! ! State: Indiana

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One Road or Another

Beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep. The alarm went off. It was ten-thirty in the morning, and I was still tired from the party last night. I got up and got a fresh Ralph Lauren outfit and took a shower. When I was done, I went out to meet a homey. We had work to put in, drugs to sell. When I got to my dude Anthony’s crib, we stood on the front porch talking about who, when, where, and how much we were selling our drugs for. Then Anthony looked at a silver Cadillac, stunned. He reached in his back waist and pulled out a glock forty and told me to get down, so I did and he started busting at the Cadillac. Within seconds I heard them shoot back with a semiautomatic AK forty-seven. Then when I looked up, blood hit my face and my boy dropped like a stone. The glock was now less than a foot away from me and I heard someone yell from the car, “Kill the witness!” So, I picked up the glock, stood up, and fired. Then I blacked out. When I woke, I was standing in Anthony’s yard, gripping the pistol. There were three murders in front of me that I obviously just did. Therefore, I dropped the pistol and ran fast to my house. When I got there, I started packing


lots of clothes in a backpack, left a note for my parents, and dipped to the bus station. I got a Greyhound that went to Houston, Texas to stay with a homey, Jac. When I got there, I explained what happened and let me stay there for a while. His sister Megan started making a place for me to sleep. Then, she started cooking for me and came to tell me, “I understand what you’re going through, but you can’t run from this forever. At some point you’re going to have to face the consequences.” Then she walked to the kitchen and brought me my food. For days, I was thinking about what she was telling me, so I called my parents. “Hello,” my mom answered. “It’s me, Mom. All I want to say is I’m coming home to turn myself in. Bye.” As soon as I hung up, I decided to go to Megan and ask her if she could wait for me if I turned myself in, because a couple days ago I realized I had feelings for her. “Oh, yes,” she said hugging me. When I got to my county jail, they took me in and the judge said I did a good thing to turn myself in, but I still got 15 years.

15 years later…

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When I walked outside of the facility, there Megan was waiting for me. She ran up, hugged me and said she missed me. “So now what are you going to do?” she asked. “Preach, because I found God.” And that’s what I did.

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Artist: R.V.!

! Teacher’s Name: B. Shaw! !

Facility Name: Granite YESS @ DLYC & WYC! State: Utah

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Author: M.D.!

! Teacher’s Name: A. Long! ! Facility Name: Arkansas Consolidated High School @ AJATC! ! State: Arkansas

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“The Untold Story”

! I remember a lot of harsh moments in my life that I had to go thru. My mother and father were both drug addicts and I had it hard growing up. All the money they ever had was for drugs and alcohol. We were basically poor. I was always bullied at school because my clothes were dirty, stanken’, and worn out. People would come up to me an’ slap me in my neck and do all types of crazy things to me. One day I will never forget is the day I was in my room sleeping, and all of a sudden I heard a lot of cursing and racket. So, I got up, looked at my alarm clock and it was 2:59. When I walked out my mom and dad were arguing and fighting. They had both told me once before to stay out of their disputes. My father Rod was beating my mother badly. I was scared to go help my mom, but I went anyway to help. I finally realized that mom was bleeding badly, so I ran towards her. My dad grabbed me. He took me back to my room and threw me on the bed. He took his belt off an’ then started hitting me with the belt buckle. My dad hit me anywhere that


the belt could touch me. It hurt so badly that I grabbed the buckle. He yanked the belt away an’ told me to stop, but he was beating me nonstop for 3 minutes. I was mostly hit in the face and the head. He then went inside his pockets and pulled out a pair of brass knuckles. After that, I don’t remember what had happened because I was beaten unconscious. I was woken up at the hospital by detectives, doctors, and DHS. At that point in time I had forgotten what happened. The detectives and state police told me it was safe to tell them what happened, but I truly didn’t remember. My mother had been released from the hospital that day. I was still held in the hospital for 2 reasons, because DHS had taken temporary custody of me and I had to finish getting treated for injuries. Once I was finally released, I didn’t go to school for a month because I was ashamed of what happened. Everyone like my friends, family, and teachers always asked me what happened and why I was in the hospital. But, I remained silent because I was not only embarrassed by what my father did, but by how my mother acted too. An’ this is my untold story.

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Artist: J.C.!

! Teacher’s Name: F. Uzzell! ! Facility Name: Spring Lake Youth Academy @SLYF! !

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State: Florida

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Author: D.W.!

! Teacher’s Name: R. Fannon! ! Facility Name: St. Charles County JJC! !

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State: Missouri

The Man When I was six years old I met a man at a gas station in who changed my life. I’m not sure if it was the sight of me digging through the dumpster that caught his eye, or a naked six year old, but I remember the man well. It shocked me he was polite; never had a grown man ever been nice to me. I’m guessing he’d never seen a kid looking for food in a dumpster, much less a naked one. You see, to me, it was normal. Staying high and drunk was more important to my parents than feeding and clothing their children. To eat we would look in our neighbors trash cans or walk to the gas station hoping to find expired food. One more thing that obviously wasn’t that important to them was paying rent; we were always moving. The man —that’s all I could think about on my walk home from the gas station. I couldn’t get over how nice he’d been to me. He even shook my hand! When I was about halfway home from the gas station three cars passed me. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, but when they pulled up to my house I thought it was strange because we rarely had visitors.


I watched three men get out of their vehicles, walk towards the door and knock. For some reason it scared me, so I began to run. My uncle caught up with me and took me to the police car. I saw my little brother Thomas strapped into a car seat. I hoped that James and Rachel were safe. I kept wondering what they were going to do to me. I was really scared! They took me to a clean building, sat me down inside a room and told me to wait. It dawned on me that they had taken Thomas away. Slowly, I realized my family had been separated and that made me feel sick. A lady came in and told me I was going with her. I asked where my brothers and sister were. She looked puzzled. I guess she didn’t understand what I said since she didn’t answer my question. I didn’t know it then, but I’ve since been told, we’d made up our own language. It was late when we got to her house. She told me my brothers and sister were okay, fed me and gave me a bed to sleep in. I was so excited since I’d always slept on the floor. Well, almost always. One time my dad brought a foam mattress home from work for me to sleep on but when we had to move two days later the foam mattress didn’t move with us. So, I laid there that night thinking about the man at the gas station. Even at such a young age, I somehow knew he had given me a new beginning. I’ll forever be grateful for his kindness.

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Artist: C.M.!

! Teacher’s Name: K. Stookey! ! Facility Name: Juniper Hills High School @JCC-Lewiston! !

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State: Idaho

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Author: B.K,!

! Teacher’s Name: S. Ryan! !

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Facility Name: Three Lakes High School @ Oak Creek YCF!

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State: Oregon

! Abduction The room was small—only one bed, one table, two chairs and a T. V. The bathroom was even smaller. I spent seven days in there, locked up in this place like a hut. Day one, not so bad, got shot up with half a gram, hit in the head with a baseball bat, and kicked in the ribs with a size 13 foot and shoe, kidnapped and beat black and blue. Watched a woman get the shit beat out of her, too. Day two only got worse, no food and shot up with another two, hit some more, only this time got told I was a dirty whore. The little hotel bathroom was the only thing I saw in that tiny hotel room. I went in and out of consciousness, never knew what day it was, lost track of time, and only went out in the middle of the night to get ice. I never knew what it was like to get abducted until those nights; I always got beat. That night I got shot up against my will and that wasn't free to me. I got shot up overnight with more than five grams of white—so hard to put up a fight when I had no life left inside. By the end of my third night, I could have died right there in the little bit of light, but he kept me in there for four more nights. Then I came out black and blue, beat in two, hurt all over, wanting to kneel right over. Finally, he let me go. Free at last. Day seven, he


let me have my life. He told me to “go get out of here fast.” He said, “I don't want you to be here to see what's about to happen, so save your own life and get the hell out of here now before I change my mind.” So I left. I ran as fast as I could, I left there with nothing to my name but a beaten up look. All my stuff had been stolen. All I had was my tainted veins with that deathly white shame. I got away with bruises and lumps. Nothing was what I would've called a triumph. Kidnapped and beat, shot up and starved—all these things I never knew. Now I have scars to show. I don't know how I got out, but somehow I lived through. It made me feel sick, made me feel blue, made me feel like a bitch who was only there to be used.

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Artist: K.P.!

! Teacher’s Name: J. Willis! ! Facility Name: Vantage Pointe Learning Center @LJCF! ! State: Indiana


Author: G.S.!

! Teacher’s Name: B. Shaw! ! Facility Name: Granite YESS @ DLYC & WYC! ! State: Utah

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On the Run People say that there is no such thing as normal. I don’t know about all that, but I do know that there are things that are not normal. Looking back, I know my life was not normal. I grew up in a log cabin. We lived twenty miles from the nearest town, twelve miles away the nearest paved road, and four miles away from our nearest neighbor. In short, I lived on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. It was great in a lot of ways, but it was hard in a lot of ways, too. The people I grew up around weren’t very normal either. I never had a lot of friends. There weren’t many kids in my neighborhood; in fact, there wasn’t anyone in my neighborhood. I did have one good friend, Dakota; he was like a brother to me. Other than Dakota, it was my parents, my sister, and me. Our family dynamic could be described as “cabin fever.” We were cold and distant, hot and angry, or, on a good day, warm and caring. To be honest the good times were few and far between. When my parents split, my friend Dakota and I decided to run away and live in the woods. We took food, but it ran out at the end of the third day. We tried setting snares and hunting with my .22, but we only got one scrawny


squirrel. On the fifth day, we knew that we needed food and bad. Then I remembered there was this guy named Weird Beard; he was a mountain man. He lived off the land, but more importantly, he had a chicken coup outside his cabin. The sun was still up when we got there so we waited until dark. My stomach kept punching itself, and there was nothing to distract me from my hunger. We drew straws to decide who would get the chicken and who would wait on the other side of fence and keep watch. I lost. It was pitch black except for the dim candlelight coming out of Weird Beard’s cabin window. I wanted to wait until the light went out, but my hunger overpowered me. I went in real quietly, jumped the wooden fence, and got into the chicken coup. I snapped the first two chickens’ necks without making a sound, but the third chicken squawked loudly. I heard the cabin door open. I ran out of the chicken coup, threw the two dead chickens over the fence to Dakota, and grabbed the top of the fence. I was almost over the top when I heard the first shot. I was flipped over the top of the fence like a wet rag. I hit the dirt hard, got up, and ran. I thought I had a back full of buckshot, but it was just rock salt. That was not a normal day; I did not have a normal life.

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Artist: J.B.E.!

! Teacher’s Name: B. Shaw! ! Facility Name: Granite YESS @ DLYC & WYC! ! State: Utah


Author: R.W.!

! Teacher’s Name: B. Shaw ! ! Facility Name: Granite YESS @ DLYC & WYC! ! State: Utah

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Momma Rosa, My Heart When I was a young boy, I was always close to my mother Rosa. She was very sick because my father had repeatedly beaten her, and since we lived in Nicaragua, a poor country, medical care was not the best. Even though I was only eight years old, I was mentally tough enough to learn all about wheelchairs when my mother became paralyzed. I was always the one to take her around everywhere, even if it meant missing school: She was my everything. I hated seeing her suffer so much with all the pills she had to take and all the pain she experienced daily. One morning we got up at 3:00 a.m. because mom had a doctor’s appointment at 10:00 a.m.; and the hospital closest to home was about 20 miles away. I had to push her in her wheelchair all the way. As I was pushing her wheelchair, I noticed she was silently crying. I asked, “Why?” She answered, “Son, all I desire is to rest in peace. I want to stop being a burden to you. You are so young, and I want you to go to school.”


I loved my mother so much I didn’t care about school or anything else. All I cared about was getting her to her doctor’s appointment and making sure she was happy. The days passed and I continued, without complaining, to push her around to the grocery store, movies, doctors, parks, hospital, and home again. It was my pleasure and honor to be able to serve my mother in a way no other kids my age could ever serve their parents. One day as I was cooking for the both of us, she called me into her room. I noticed she had been crying, and she told me to sit on her bed next to her. This is what she said to me, “Son, I love you so much, and I always want you to remember this: Soon all my pains will go away, and I will be with God.” As I heard this, I started to cry. I didn’t want my mother to be gone. I sobbed and begged, “Mommy, please don’t leave me. If you’re going, then take me with you! Don’t you want to be with me?” But she simply said, “Son, I am not leaving you, and I never will. I will always be with you. I will always protect you and give you my love. I promise.” With this our conversation ended. About a week later my mother passed away. I was crying, and I couldn’t understand why she had broken her promise. My biggest fear was to lose her, but I now understand that I never lost her. She is


always with me, and to this day I still tell her how much I love her. I can feel how much she loves me. She is still with me, in my heart, where she will always be.

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Artist: C.Y.!

! Teacher’s Name: S. Ryan! !

Facility Name: Three Lakes High School @ Oak Creek YCF!

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State: Oregon


Author: J.W.!

! Teacher’s Name: P. Miller! !

Facility Name: Trask River High School @ Tillamook YAC!

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State: Oregon

Unspoken War

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Why are the staff and the youth in an unspoken war with each other? I have seen new staff come in to the juvenile system and truly want to help. Some immature youth like to give the new staff a hard time. Not always, but a lot of the time that staff tends to power play. Typically, the staff nitpicks at the youth that gave him or her the hard time and it trickles down to other youth. Who is the adult here? Did the youth make the staff that way? If so why do the youth want to battle with the staff and why does the staff tend to power play? In a confined living unit there is a lot of down time. People simply get bored and start to hassle each other. They get caught up in the moment and lose sight of why they are here. Most youth want to better themselves so they can be a successful citizen in society. Most staff members are here to help youth so they can succeed and feel safe. I know this from talking to multiple staff, youth and treatment groups. If youth and staff would realize and internalize the cries of our ancestors, they would want to make more of their day than petty nick-picking. Chief Joseph was tired of all the wars he and his people were in, so he took a stand and said, “I


shall fight no more.� It takes strength, perseverance, sacrifice, compromise, and tolerance to get along with others without power plays. We need to listen to the wise men and women of our past. Confined youth have to take that first step to get where they want to be. If youth keep in mind all the knowledge our ancestors fought so hard to teach the generations that followed, then it would be easier to make the responsible and mature decision in the midst of the conflict. I have learned in lock-up that we have to change ourselves; we cannot change another. If youth would accept these ideals and treat each other with respect, perhaps staff would not feel the need to power play. I ask again, why are the staff and the youth in an unspoken war with each other?

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Artist: T.S.!

! Teacher’s Name: A. Marlow! ! Facility Name: Juniper Hills High School @JCC-Nampa ! ! State: Idaho

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Author: B.S.!

! Teacher’s Name: F. Uzzell! ! Facility Name: Spring Lake Youth Academy @SLYF ! ! State: Florida

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Alone

! At age three I started out just and average kid, like any other child in the United States. Life was good. I had a loving mother and father to feed and bathe me. I also had two playful siblings to nurture and grow with. I had everything I could ask for, and not one worry in the whole world. Things soon changed. At age four I was ripped away from my family. My loving mother who once fed me was gone, the once caring father who had bathed me had vanished, and my energetic siblings had suddenly disappeared. Family plays a crucial role in a child’s development. Without them what would I amount to? I was placed in foster care and had spent the next couple of years getting in as much trouble as possible. I had no mother to equip me with my every need, so I began to act out and steal whatever I got my hands on. I had no father to teach me right from wrong, so my negative behavior escalated the longer I spent in foster care. The pain was indescribable and I remember vividly running away almost every night in search of my parents even though they were in a whole other country. I would jump out the bathroom window on frigid nights when the staff


left the window open. I would see this as an opportunity to escape and reunite myself with my family. There was a road about a mile long with woods on each side, this road lead from the group home to the main road. I would get about three-fourths of the way to the road before headlight appeared behind me. I would take off running as fast as my little legs would take me, trying to outrun the vehicle in pursuit. It was almost the same outcome every time. I would get scooped up by the staff and brought back to that dreaded place. When I did reach the road only a few attempts out of the hundreds of attempts, I would just wait at the end of the road, exhausted from the walk and frightened of the outside world. So I would then wait, hoping they would notice I was gone and come get me soon, which they always did. There were wolves in the woods, and many strange noises that scared me. Because of my determination to reunite myself with my family, I would put on my toughest face and take the walk. These are the many reasons why I am where I am today, in a program with a long list of felonies. If I wouldn’t have been taken away from my family and had the right environment to develop and mature in, I wouldn't be in the position I’m in now. This is the story of a young man who was robbed of his childhood at an early age and didn’t have the chance to grow up like most. I will always feel FOREVER ALONE.

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Artist: N.S.!

! Teacher’s Name: P. Miller! ! Facility Name: Trask River High School @ Tillamook YAC! ! State: Oregon


Author: C.M.!

! Teacher’s Name: K. Stookey! !

Facility Name: Juniper Hills High School @JCCLewiston!

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State: Idaho

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Escaping to love

The most unusual place that I have ever been was the dark cavernous prison I escaped from 18 years ago. I was locked within that dark forbidden god forsaken prison for nine whole months before I made my extravagant escape into the luscious world. My prison was void of all life, and constantly sticky, I was wrapped in an odd viscous material that covered my body like a second set of skin. The rubber-like-membrane that I was wrapped in only had one opening, and that was for the tube that perturbed from my belly. The tube that was sticking out from my bellybutton was my own source of life support. No one knew that I planned my escape from day one, as soon as I beat all of my other million brothers and sisters in the big race. It was three days of hard swimming to be able to reach the Egg of life, but I made it anyways. I started my first stages of meiosis, and with that, I also started my plans for escape. My long slender body started to mutate into the beginning stages of a fetus, I lost my flagella and in replace I grew two littler legs. My round bluish body transformed into a cylindrical body with a faceless head and microscopic organs that powered my body. At three months of age, I had fleshy little eyes and beady little fingers that stuck out from my hands like crooked hooks waiting to grab onto life as I knew it.


Six months later I escaped by forcing my jailer into labor. I wiggled my way through forcing myself into the bright open vivid world of the h-o-s-p-i-t-a-l room. I was then lifted into the air and held out in front of a new captor. He laughed manically as he held me in suspension above the floor. He was wearing a blue tarp like material that covered his white uniform; a breathing apparatus covered his face to block any form of antigens from entering the blood stream. The room was bright, and there was blinking and beeping machines scattered about monitoring the previous captor. I glanced around looking at the evil smiles blanched upon all of the faces of the evil contributors to my jailers keep. Then I found her, she was drenched in sweat and smiling a smile of heavenly proportions, the blood was drained from her face, and she seemed absolutely exhausted but she still held the most beautiful smile imaginable. I cried out, reached towards her; I longed to be with her. I went from wanting to escape, live my own life to becoming imprinted on this beautiful specimen lying in the hospital bed. My whole body longed to be loved; my whole being was absolutely devoted to being cared for and making this woman happy. I lost all remembrance of trying to escape from this person, it was replaced with love and complacency. I have found what made me kick.

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Untold Stories