Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Freedom Writers Project - Person-by-person, heart-by-heart.

We went to see the movie Freedom Writers this week, and absolutely loved it. The movie is based on a true story, and even though it’s one of the familiar themes depicted lately of the teacher saving the students, this one struck a note of absolute truth. Erin Gruwell (portrayed by Hilary Swank) naively tries to reach a group of 150 gang-bangers, divided by race and past experiences. In the process, these kids break her heart, and she dives right into their lives, getting so involved with her students that…well, go see the movie. You’ll see!

This is a story of redemption in that these young adults are inspired by their teacher to let down their walls and begin to cautiously trust. The teacher, Erin Gruwell, and the original students depicted in this movie have formed the Erin Gruwell Project. Of these 150 students that graduated in 1998, many have gone on to college, and some are now teachers themselves. Many of the original students organize and lead nationwide teacher training workshops to spread the Freedom Writers message and to teach others “to write what needs to be written.”

Teachers across our nation are attending the Freedom Writers Workshop. It is still a young organization, but it is having a positive impact. Here’s a comment from a teacher that really touched me…

Dunbar Middle School – Forth Worth, Texas
After experiencing the Freedom Writer workshop first hand, this Freedom Writer Teacher is in the beginning stages of forming her own Junior Freedom Writers group, which in time, will consist of 50 students. After attending the Freedom Writer workshop, she told us that “my life is changed forever, and each encounter with all of you is surreal…your capacity for an educational and moral revolution is being realized person-by-person and heart-by-heart.”

You can check out the vibrant organization inspired by Erin Gruwell and these young students by going to Freedom Writers Foundation. And spread the word!


Trace said...

I will want to see the movie now. Thanks for the review.

Badoozie said...

i will definetely see this movie. i'm so like that, diving in and getting my heart broken, i just hold out hope that it's not all in vain

Janie said...

Tracy, Susie - it is definitely a movie worth seeing. And it's nice to see a teacher lauded instead of trashed!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you all for the great comments! Janie, a special thanks for posting the "heart" quote. i am a Freedom Writer Teacher in Texas and the author of the quote. The Freedom Writers Diary DVD is scheduled for release on April 17th - hope you will purchase it and share the story with others.
Again, many thanks for the review.