“I think it’s good for older people to do this. It’s a completely new experience for me, and it’s good at 84 to have new experiences.” Inprint Senior Memoir Workshop Participant

Seniors_Feb_2012

Currently, in-person workshops are being offered at Harris County Precinct One’s Finnigan Park Community Center and the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center. In the past, workshops have been held at Amazing Place, Talento Bilingüe de Houston, Lincoln Park Community Center, Denver Harbor, Hester House, Ripley House, and Magnolia Multi-Purpose Center. Workshops traditionally run every fall and spring on a weekly basis, with each class meeting for 2 hours each week. These Inprint workshops are the only programming offered in the Houston area focused on helping senior citizens recall their life stories and capture them through the written word.

Based on the theory that good writing and storytelling are keys to a healthy mind, these workshops enliven memories and involve seniors in a stimulating group activity. Workshop participants write about their lives, recording them for their children and grandchildren, themselves, and their communities, preserving family and community histories. By writing, reading aloud, and revising their stories with a skilled teacher, the seniors experience a sense of accomplishment, enhanced mental alertness, and increased well-being. These workshops also provide the seniors with an all-too-rare opportunity for personal growth. Additionally, the act of writing and responding to the work of others strengthens their cognitive abilities, so that they can continue to enjoy full, independent lives.

The participants in the workshops develop a deep kinship for each other and are each other’s best critics and fans. One long-time participant has since published her poetry in regional literary magazines, and has read her poetry at the Houston Poetry Fest and the Round Top Poetry Festival in Round Top, Texas.

Workshops are led by skilled local writers, many of whom are UH Creative Writing Program students and alumni. Annually, each workshop leader selects work by the participating seniors to publish in an anthology, copies of which are given to the participants and the host centers. The workshops end with a public celebration where participants give a reading of their work for family, friends, and community members.

Inprint is deeply grateful to The Samuels Foundation and Robin Angly and Miles Smith for providing underwriting support for this invaluable program.

Upcoming workshops