I was thrilled to receive a letter from one of our students, now serving time in prison. Part of our program is staying in touch with students whether they go home or to another facility. The letters we write are dubbed kites, which is prison parlance for letters of exchange be it internal or external; it’s also how we came up with our name. In the kite I sent after this student’s transfer, I enclosed a $5 money order for postage and sent a few writing prompts for them to remain part of our community. Maintaining these connections is crucial to our mission and especially important when working with disenfranchised youth.
While protecting this person’s identity, I’d like to share a snapshot of this kite. As program volunteers at Rikers, we make the long trek back and forth hoping to bring light to a place ravaged by darkness—both literally and figuratively. Twice a week, I look forward to seeing my students and their excitement tells me they look forward too—but getting that confirmation in writing is reason to celebrate. Our efforts are indeed being realized.
Check it out:
The next snap shot is a response piece to the prompt, “Letter to my Younger self.” Got any good prompts? Message us or comment below!
We’re still waiting on pending approval to share work by current students on Rikers but I’ll continue to post updates in the meantime. We’ll be starting a 6-week summer seminar with women and thanks to the Pen Prison Writing Program, we received handbooks to prepare students for submissions.
If you’d like to join The Kite team, we’re hosting a volunteer orientation Wednesday May 24th at 6:30 in Manhattan’s Alphabet City. If you’re not in NY or don’t have the time, there’re other ways to contribute.
Until we achieve 501-c3 status, we’re dependent on community support. Here’s some ways you can throw in:
- USPS $5 money orders
- composition notebooks
- Snacks (small candies, chips, cookies, gummies)
- Thin markers for writing (no metal attachments)
- Loose leaf paper
- Softcover urban fiction or other new novels/memoirs/comics
- Amazon/Barnes & Noble Gift Cards: We currently have a deal with our younger students: for every book they read that they claimed disinterest in, we reward them with a book of their choice. This has encouraged our students to read books they otherwise wouldn’t have.
- Monetary Donations help purchase class materials, prints for workshop writing, resume building, college materials and desired field information print-outs. Here’s our Paypal link: https://www.paypal.me/thekitezine. Don’t forget to provide an address or email so we can share the zine once it’s created!
Regardless of what you can do, simply reading and sharing is greatly appreciated. Thank you and stay tuned for more!
The Kite Zine
PO BOX 23687
Brooklyn, NY 11202