Can you picture why
some people die by the gun?
no one has a heart

– Jake W.

Many youth at the Training School have wisdom beyond their years. They’ve had to develop survival strategies for living in risky environments, and they have first-hand experience navigating government systems. As a result, they have a lot to say!

AS220 Youth has offered creative writing groups at the RITS over the last 15 years. Young people’s writing is published in our literary magazine, The Hidden Truthas well as two anthologies, Impact I and II. 

Our writing and publishing process is documented in Adam Reich’s book, Hidden Truth. Reich co-founded the magazine as an undergraduate at Brown and offers his own sociological perspective on “how poor, disenfranchised young men come to terms with masculinity and identity.”

I Write

I write forever. I write tonight. I write before they turn off the lights. I write because it makes me feel nice. I write because I have no life. I write so I can recite. I write so I won’t get into a fight. I write so I won’t be lazy. I write so I won’t go crazy. I write because it amazes me. I write how my girl almost had a baby. I write daily. I write how I like this girl. I write how I hate this world. I write how it feels to be tall. I write how it feels to be in four walls. I write how to open your eyes. I write how it feels to be paralyzed. I write how it feels to be traumatized. I write how my own best friend committed suicide. I write about things I don’t understand. I write because it helps me explore. I write because it’s my mentor. I write all that comes from the core. I write until they open my door. I write all that’s in store. I write because I was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe. I write so things can unfold. I’ll write until I’m six feet in the hole.

– Duane R.


What is Life?

Stop and think

It’s now always in family

Roots we carry on

Traditions, feelings, relations…

Sometimes good,

Sometimes Bad,

But Life goes on with

love and Pride,

Rich or poor we all abide.

The road of Life is never straight,

The veins sometimes

teach us to Hate

Sometimes we feel it’s hardly fair,

Life threatens us –

when we’re Unaware.

We try to function… we really try,

Even though our enemies wish us to die,

We all get scared when things go wrong,

We realize we must be strong.

With prayers and  patience we struggle along,

Which proves that life goes on and on.


Why do we hope to get things or hope for something to happen?

We are always and every single day of our lives hoping for what we don’t have, hope.

People hope because they believe.

People hope because of the faith that they have.

People hope because they know one day it’s going to happen. People take the chance to hope, to get, to succeed, and to finally say

“Yes I did it, it happened, I got it, and I hope I can do it again.”

Hope comes from your trust, faith, and strength.

– Danny P.


Picture an island, about the size of your home city but with no one on it. The days are warm, some sunny, some cloudy, but always dry. One side is green, green, green, like a room full of crayons.

Palm trees, coconut trees, and all types of fruit.

The other side is a beach with water so blue you can’t tell if it’s the ocean or the skyline. Fish swim around without a care in the world.

A small house on a dock with a phone and a small boat.

A small but soft bed like a pile of leaves.

A small window so I can seet he big sun set.

Each day is like the last.

Food, sleep, and time to think.

As if your whole life is forever on pause to stop and enjoy the moment.

– Marcus L.