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Host Employees Learn How Writing Impacts Incarcerated Youths


On Thursday, February 16, 35 Host Hotels & Resorts’ employees attended the Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop organized by the company’s Service team. Armed with multicolored pens, the group was tasked with providing comments and feedback on the poems written by young incarcerated poets located in jails across the country. Free Minds members—isolated from their friends and family—write poems about their experiences, emotions and hopes for the future.


Before the group began writing, they heard from Executive Director Tara Libert and two “poet ambassadors.” Hearing their stories, of travelling the wrong path and ending up in jail at the young age of 16, of being transferred across the country where their families were unable to visit, of finding hope and a future through the Free Minds Book Club, provided a rare perspective that could not have been achieved without these two brave and inspiring young men. They were open, insightful, and endlessly positive despite having spent their youth in prison.


While the group read through the poems and wrote comments the poet ambassadors circulated through the groups, answering questions and sharing anecdotes.


The young poets enjoyed their time at Host and shared their thoughts:


"To share my story with you all has been a weight off of my shoulders, and now I feel even more liberated than I did when I came home. I want to thank you all for making me feel accepted!" 
– Hosea


"It was such an amazing experience to see what effect my story had on everyone. Your support encourages me more when i see how emotional and interested everyone was when I told my life story. It was an experience that I will not forget, and I appreciate the support."
– Nokomis


Learn more about Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop and Host's Corporate Responsibility program.


Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop
EPIC Service Team with representatives from Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop