The F-You Project has facilitated the implementation of "Shook One" Intro to Creative Writing program, supported by Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), designed to be part of a holistic approach to rehabilitation for currently incarcerated individuals.
Based on the book “Shook One”, written by New York Times best selling author Charlamagne Tha God, in addition to exploiring the fundamentals of creative writing, one of the underlying goals of this course is to encourage participants to discuss and gain a better understanding of a variety of mental health issues that directly or indirectly affect their lives, including anxiety, fear of failure, trauma, and post-traumatic stress. The questions asked throughout the duration of the course will explore and challenge beliefs and highlight what can be learned from personal experiences. We then get the participants to use the literary tools fundamental to basic creative writing to express themselves in their responses. An example of question we will ask during group discussion: Identify an issue you feel strongly about (ie. Climate change, racial profiling, politics, etc.). Can you offer an argument that represents the opposite perspective?
Charlamagne Tha God is also the well-known cohost of The Breakfast Club radio show on Power 106 in New York. In the book "Shook One", he explores the ups and downs of his fears and anxieties throughout his lifetime – from childhood to adult. Using several Hip-Hop musical references, Charlamagne chronicles his journey to overcoming his fear of being seen as weak and empowering himself through knowledge and personal discovery. His style of speaking about his journey makes this book particularly effective in helping to curate important conversations around mental health in the context of being incarcerated.
This program will be available to all individuals in custody, as well as individuals who identify as at-risk or come from vulnerable communities. Basic reading and writing skills are required.
Throughout the 10-week program, participants will be encouraged to practice understanding concepts covered in the readings and participating in ensuing discussion. Those who complete the course will have a better grasp of the fundamental skills necessary to compose reflective writing pieces (i.e. how to format a sentence to communicate a feeling, how to write a journal entry, etc.)
20 hours of class time, 20 hours of homework, reading, materials, and resources.