The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, Eskenazi Health, and Indy Eleven teamed up to bring Vonnegut and personal narrative to eighth graders at IPS H.L. Harshman Middle School.
Being an eighth grader is not easy. The pressure comes from all sides: parents, academics, sexuality, sports. In addition, some students have to cope with poverty, substance or physical abuse, or bullying from peers. We could spend all day listing the dozens of elements in the average middle schooler’s story. That’s why, with the help of local sports stars from Indy Eleven Professional Soccer and with experts from Eskenazi Health, we spent time in the classroom in 2017 helping young people turn their personal struggles into works of literary art. We want young people to learn that through writing, they can heal, they can grow, and they can learn more about themselves (and each other) than they ever thought possible.
And for today’s young folks, the stakes are high.
Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24? Or that over 5,400 young people in grades 7 to 12 attempt suicide every single day? In 2017, Indiana ranked first in the country for the number of teens who think about suicide: 1 of every 5! We are working to help change that.
We worked to empower students at Harshman Middle School to take control of their stories and listen to others with empathy and compassion.
Thank you to Kimann and Michael Schultz for their generous donation to the SH5 Personal Narrative project at Harshman Middle School.
Thank you to Penguin Random House for donating Slaughterhouse-Five to every eighth-grade student at the school, and thanks to all of you who helped through your financial donations.