Today was our first official working day for CWB. 1.30-1 boys ages 14 to 18 who were at the end of their time in the prison system. We worked with them in a detention center, where they live and were also on lockdown. They have been in the prison system for up to 7 years and were serving their last three months in this detention center then to be returned to their families. There they receive some vocational training, education, and basic life skills. Recently they have began a creative arts therapy curriculum and we were theater arts program.
Thoughout the workshop many staff members found their way into the workshop area and were watching the kids play when asked they also joined into the large group exercises. The boys were very friendly and smiley with us immediately and by mid-way through the workshop they felt like average teenage boys, ready to play, somewhat shy about being put on the spot, and the cusp of being men. The workshop consisted of theater games, improvisational clown exercises working towards empowerment, emotional release, and success and playfulness. A young Indian theater student , who is on scholarship to work with young prisoners, requested to be our apprentice with us for the week and helped translate throughout the day.
In the afternoon, the roughly 22 kids were very excited to meet us and even more open to play. Warmer, closer to each other already and more free bodies, in front of each other. When we would explain an exercise they were quick to play and ready to jump up in front of each other.
At they end they took turns showing us all of their best dance moves! We found the boys to be very responsive, eager to work in groups, and with a general playful spirits.