The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, Eskenazi Health, and Indy Eleven are teaming 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 Professonal Soccer and with professionals from Eskenazi Health, we’re spending time in the classroom helping young people turn their personal struggles into works of literary art. We want these 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 ages 10-24? Or that over 5400 young people in grades 7-12 attempt suicide every single day? This year, Indiana is ranked first in the country for the number of teens who think about suicide: 1 of every 5! We want to help change that.

We hope to empower students at Harshman Middle School to take control of their stories and listen to others’ with empathy and compassion. But we can’t do it without your help.

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 8th Grade student at Harshman Middle School.

Please join Kimann and Michael Schultz, Penguin Random House, and the rest of us in support of this project.

Community Partners