Inside Voices—sponsored by Restorative Partners and taught by Cait Emma Smith and Carly Smoot—is a writing workshop designed for the minors at the San Luis Obispo Juvenile Hall. Since 2013, this program has helped hundreds of students ages 12 to 17 find the skills, techniques, and insights into healthy emotional expression through the written word. Each workshop session centers on a unique topic—which is explored through a writing exercise and several group discussions. Topics range from identity and spirituality to family and culture. Writing exercises include playing with poetry, fiction, non-fiction,journaling, rapping, and letter writing. Inside Voices seeks to promote creativity, foster healthy behaviors, enable a sense of empowerment, and encourage critical thinking.
HerVoice is a young women’s creative writing workshop, founded by Cait Emma Smith in January 2015, and is primarily designed for females who have been impacted by crime. This creative writing program seeks to cultivate a safe space where students can explore and critically think about their identity—and leave with a sense of empowerment. Themes in this program include body image, interpersonal relationships, notions of beauty and affirmation, self-reliance, stereotypes, cultural influences (like celebrity culture, fashion, and social media), and peer pressure and gossip. Writing exercises include practicing poetry, fiction, non-fiction, journaling, rapping, and letter writing. HerVoice was developed to foster the personal growth of young women as they search for independence, strength, and creativity.