The Golf Pencil Group is a weekly creative writing class for women incarcerated in the King County Correctional Facility in downtown Seattle. Formerly staffed by Americorps, for nearly 10 years the group has been managed and facilitated entirely by volunteers from the outside community. We are one of the longest-running volunteer programs at KCCF, one of few for women, and we do it with limited resources: blank paper and golf pencils.
Each week, our facilitators bring in essays, poems, and writing exercises, along with writing resources and books to read, which our students devour. Our teachers edit, review, and type work from each class into a biweekly journal, The Golf Pencil Review, that women can share with their families and friends and use as a resource.
Many of our students tell us they have never before had access to an affirming educational space. Some women use the class to work on their memoirs or novels; others process their experiences, escape into their imaginations, or write letters to loved ones. We strive to provide students of all levels with meaningful access to artistic and emotional expression, and encourage friendship and community in an environment that can otherwise feel hostile. Some hone their craft; others discover their voice. One student called our class her "family." Another, on her last day before release, said, "I used to be really quiet and shy and never spoke up. But now, I'm a writer."
We are a cohort of Seattle teaching artists who bring reflective, inspiring, and integrative writing activities in a weekly class to women incarcerated at King County Correctional Facility.
We stand for student-affirmation in a traumatic and destabilizing time, and believe our students are agents in their own empowerment and transformation.
We are lucky to receive fiscal sponsorship from Evergreen Social Impact. Thanks to Hugo House for amplifying our work in their community.
Get in touch with us to learn more about our work and how you can get involved.