The opportunity to express emotions through writing is something many students value at the Lincoln Hills Juvenile Detention Center. Thanks to the Lincoln Hills Poetry Project, students at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point provide an outlet for students to express themselves through poetry.
The Lincoln Hills Poetry Project allows UWSP students with a major or minor in English or Writing to go to the Lincoln Hills Juvenile Detention Center in Irma, WI, to work with students on their writing. The project gives the students an opportunity to share their love for writing while expanding their writing potential.
"Students from UWSP’s LHPP travel to Lincoln Hills four to five times per semester. Being involved in the organization is a wonderful way for UWSP students to help make a positive impact in the life of a struggling teen. The project helps our students who care about and find joy in writing share that passion with others," said David Roloff, the faculty advisor for the Lincoln Hills Poetry Project.
Roloff explained that the project, which has been running for 15 years, has UWSP students conducting short lessons and working with the Lincoln Hills students on short pieces of writing such as poetry. The organization enables UWSP students to support young writers in finding their own voice.
The purpose is to provide the Lincoln Hills students with an expressive and creative outlet to help them reflect upon their lives. The LHPP offers a sense of accomplishment to the young writers as their final work is ultimately published in a booklet, which is celebrated in a release party with the students and their families.
"The project helps the kids express themselves in ways they may not be able to otherwise. It gives them a sense of community and I think that’s a cool way to interact with them," said Molly Farley, a sophomore English major at UWSP.
Although the project is geared towards English and Writing students at UWSP, any student can get involved in the LHPP. In fact, any student willing to help young people work on small pieces of writing is encouraged to participate. To get involved, students can contact David Roloff or SeiQuest Williams, the LHPP President.