Think You Know What Life's Like In Kentucky? These Stories May Change That Idea.

Chie Davis Curator:

Too often, the word underprivileged is paired with a negative action or outcome. It’s rare to hear mainstream stories from the perspectives of inner-city youth outside of publicized tragedies. The kids in this story are changing the face of the inner-city teen. Their weapon of choice? Writing pens, one line at a time.

Don't miss the stirring testimonial from a young woman at 3:15.

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When I walk to school sometimes I smell the sewer underneath my feet but sometimes I smell honeysuckle lining the fences. This isn't such a bad place. I want to be an author so bad. I just like love throwing people into a world that they fall in love with and never can get out.The Louisville Story Program is amazing. We are writing about our lives what we have been through in to a book.

The Louisville Story Program helps historically underrepresented local residents write and publish books about their lives and neighborhoods. This is a landmark. We don't have books like this. We get first book of this kind in our community that it will have the richest accounts of what life is like in their neighborhoods.

When I first heard about the Louisville Story Program, I stood up and said,"How can I help?" The reason we're here is because this neighborhood and this community and this school and you matter to us. A program like doesn't matter where these young people go after. You pour some iron in their spine to tell them,"I wanna hear what you have to say." Think about what have shaped you up to this moment you sitting at this table.

There's one thing about writing has done since starting the Louisville program is improved. It's a way of life, really. Writing comes from the heart but it also comes from around you. Louisville Story Program is an opportunity, yes, but it's something more than that. It's family, it has a feeling to it that just makes you want to write more. It takes a lot of guts to tell what you've been through and have it not just read like a school teacher but read by your peers and let the world see who you really are.

Our students are writing about things that happened to them like last year, last month, ongoing elements in their lives.

It sparks creativity in you because there's so many kids around you and you don't know what they've been through and they don't know what you've been through.

It's really hard to write about things in your life that are attached to really strong emotions. There're been so many moments when I just literally explained out loud "Wow" upon reading something or hearing someone read something out loud.

I think my best work started pumping out when my mom was at her worst. In my mind it's like people die then we forget about them. I just ... I didn't want that to happen with her. I did not think at all that I was going to write about this or the book. I wasn't sure at the time what I was going to write about and consider myself a writer. I'm an artist, I draw things. I don't bother with writing.

It was actually very fulfilling. I felt like this huge weight lifted off of me. I know that I am not the only kid who is having a drug addict mom. When I was living that life it was like you can't let anyone know. It just was like a huge secret you always have to smile, get through the day. I am hoping even if it's one kid who is going to close to the same thing I am, then I am some one giving them a perspective. I'm not really sure what my mom would think about it I hope that she at least would feel loved that I'm doing it.

Our creativity can't be limited more inside that room.

This is a program that bring people like you never thought you would ever talk to together. If the program wasn't around for me, I would just go back to my deep dark hole. It brings out people who need this, who absolutely need this.

I hope just that holding that book in their hand will give them strong belief that they really can do anything up in life too.

What is most remarkable about program "Shawnee" is a generosity of spirit that comes from the challenges the people face.

Whether it's a little kid whether it's a teenager whether it's a person we all had the same kind of struggles and it's gonna take all of us to unite and for once come out of our shells and open up so that we can live better lives.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

My friends at Kertis Creative brought the Louisville Story Program to my attention over coffee in a local shop in the Bluegrass State. After meeting its Kickstarter fundraising goal, the program was able to publish a story collection — “Our Shawnee.” To stay in the loop of what they’re up to, check them out on Facebook or Twitter.

Jun 07, 2014

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