For The Texas Sweethearts Friday roundup, make sure to visit our blog. We've got a lot this week including a picture of a cupcake and where you'll be able to get one in April!
(And now I really feel like making cupcakes. That's what the weekend is for!)
So Thursday, I was fortunate enough to do an author visit at the Williamson County Juvenile Detention Center. Last year I spoke there solo, and this year I spoke with author Jessica Lee Anderson. We spoke to two groups of kids ranging from ages 10-18. The first group was the kids who had not yet been sentenced and were in holding, and the second group included the kids who had been assigned to the detention center.
From one author to another, I'm going to give you five reasons why you should volunteer to speak at a Juvenile Detention Center:
1) Let's face it: the thought of speaking to a group of "troubled" kids is a bit frightening. I admit I was a bit nervous, having visions of getting heckled. But that feeling of fear is exactly why you should volunteer. To help us grow, we need to push ourselves. We need to do things that make us reach outside of our comfort zone and experience something new. So yeah, last year I was nervous, this year much less. But I did it and would volunteer year after year (or as long as they would have me come back).
2) Okay, in my talk, I mention how ideas are everywhere. Seriously, we write stories with main characters who are kids. And these are kids. The place is filled with story ideas, one after another. Just visiting the Juvenile Center is an experience. You get to see how security is done, how many guarded doors there are. And this will be perfect in the next novel you write :)
3) The kids were about the most polite group of kids I've spoken to. They never spoke out of turn. They greeted us. They applauded. They listened and payed attention. Sure, maybe they might get in trouble if they didn't, but as a speaker, I loved and appreciated their focus.
4) Have you heard of the Pay it Forward mentality? So, do a school visit pro bono for a good cause. The goodness you put out to the universe is bound to come back to you tenfold.
5) Yes, so I saved this one for last, and maybe it is the most obvious, but by volunteering to speak at a place like this, you are reaching out to kids who can use some reaching out. If I speak to one hundred kids at the center and make a positive difference in one kid's life, then I have something to be thankful for. And, based on the reactions today, I think that difference was made. I could see the spark of excitement in some of the kids' eyes that maybe they could actually write and be published one day. And that is worth everything.
So I feel like I need a picture since I love pictures in blog posts, so I'll go with one from my files. How about a typewriter to remind us all that anyone can write!
Hope you guys all have a great weekend!