My plan was to do the class and help the boys become the best performers that they could be and I feel like I accomplished this but it went further. I became their friend and in helping them to find a sense of freedom in performing I discovered that many of them also found a new freedom that they would carry on outside the camp; the freedom of choice.
How people look at me now is a lot different because of All the positive stuff I’m doing now. The odyssey improved that because of all the self-motivation I got from it and the drive to do a lot better and all the things I can actually do to succeed in life is a lot better.
Due to these relationships that I built with the young men from the Los Prietos Boys Camp, I have a better idea of what I want to do with my future. I realized that I want to continue giving to that community, and working with incarcerated youth who have been deemed socially undesirable, but in reality are in need of attention, patience and many opportunities to cultivate and hone their talents. If I want to dedicate myself to this kind of work/interventions, I realized that I needed to work on my voice, self-empowerment, and confidence (all aspects that I was able to work on and encouraged to do so during the rehearsals) before I work with the youth.I am extremely grateful of this opportunity and enjoyed every aspect of it—from the mask-making, the mixed media, the drawings, the choreography, the cast, the show—everything was very meaningful and contributed to our overall journey. Thank you.
When I first walked in I saw the college people and the first thing I thought was that these people are privileged. They probably got here through their parents. Cause you got your classes and I happened to be in he lower class. And then like a change: cause I started hearing that they had problems too. And like some of their parents aren’t even supporting them at all. It’s like they’re doing it all on their own. It opened my mind to a new world, you know. Its wonderful this program. It helped a lot with being able to think and try new things, you know.
The general public has a strong disconnect from those in prison or in the criminal justice system. We see mug shots on the news next to a list of crimes and automatically label that person as a menace to society. It is easy to dehumanize those who have made poor choices in life and even easier to shrug these people off. For me, I was raised by a strict lawyer who taught me that there are clear rights and wrongs with no middle ground, especially when it comes to criminal justice. The Odyssey Project gave me a chance to interact with youth I would have never associated myself with on my own accord and has allowed me to break down these walls that my upbringing and society has built in my mind. This experience has broken so many stereotypes for me.