Original Voices

Julie Gardner has been leading a weekly writing workshop at Mary’s Place for over five years. Workshop participants range in age from young adult to senior and include women who are currently homeless and some who have found their forever homes but come back for class, and to share their stories of trauma, abuse, addiction, job loss… but also of empowerment, courage, and appreciation. The workshops and writings help the women work through issues, strengthen self-esteem, and find renewed hope. From the workshops, Julie has compiled and edited 126 writings, along with photos and images, in a recently published book, Original Voices: Homeless and Formerly Homeless Women’s Writings. The book includes a foreword by Pat Schneider, author and founder of Amherst Writers & Artists. The book, a labor of love, is unique and inspiring. Contributing writer, Kristine Bagby, read a poem by Jennifer Hamilton, below, at our Spring Luncheon in early May. The book is currently available at Amazon for $14.00, proceeds from the book go to support Mary's Place shelters and programming. You can follow this story at the Original Voices facebook page!

For So Long I Did Not Have a Voice Jennifer Hamilton

For so long I did not have a voice Trampled and broken I was silenced Like so many of us. It may seem like a small thing but, You heard. I feel so grateful From my depths I thank you.