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Storytelling at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre Campus
Telling your story can be cathartic and hearing someone else’s story can be transformative.
This is a key idea behind a program run recently at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC) Campus. The goal was to give inmates the space and the tools to tell their own stories, and to pass positive messages on to youth who may be reading them.
“It was an amazing experience,” says Paige Hopkins, co-facilitator of the six-week workshop. “I went in fairly nervous because I hadn’t done a lot of workshops before and I hadn’t been in the jail before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but all the students who were in there were really respectful and wanted to be in the workshop.”
Paige is the Editor of Shākāt Journal, and a recent graduate of the Multimedia Communications certificate program through Yukon College.
“The program prepared me and gave me a really solid base,” she says. “I use the skills that I learned in that program every day at work.”
As co-facilitator of the workshops at WCC, Paige got to help other people tell their stories.
“After reading their stories, you don’t look at them as criminals you look at them as people,” she says. “There were a few common threads we hear in the stories—when a lot of the youth were younger, they started hanging out with older people, many had families where intergenerational trauma was a factor, and many went through foster care.”
In total, about 20 people participated in the program and 14 stories were created.
“Some of the inmates told me that it was cathartic for them to get this story down on paper and that makes me want to do this kind of work again,” she says. “My goal is to help them express themselves and hopefully that helps with their healing.”
Read all the stories from WCC at shakatmedia.com