Zakat Foundation of America Supports Artistic Expression At Youth Detention Center

The U.S. incarcerates more of its youth than any other country in the world. Presently, there is a growing shift across the nation favoring youth rehabilitation over incarceration. One powerful form of rehabilitation is self-expression through the arts.

With the support of a grant from Zakat Foundation of America, Free Write Arts & Literacy was able to expand its writing program in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (CCJTDC). Now, detained youth have greater access to literacy tutoring, art workshops, public performance, as well as opportunities for publishing their work.

“I’ve learned how to expand my artistic side beyond just rap and drill music,” said Mark, one of the youth detainees. “I’ve learned the visual side of art and even the visual side of poetry. I’ve learned how to write my feelings about life, how to write a poem about living life a good way, and how to put feeling in my poetry.”