The students at the Miami Youth Academy wrote these stories for their newspaper Titan Tribune, a collaboration by the facility, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Exchange for Change, a Miami-based non-profit group that supports writing programs in youth commitment and adult correctional facilities. Students work on the paper in a journalism class taught by a retired journalism teacher. The writers are identified by their initials to protect their identities.
Students at Miami Youth Academy are studying nine core values — respect, responsibility, citizenship, fairness, pursuit of excellence, kindness, cooperation, honesty, and integrity.
The goal of this initiative is to develop the whole student and improve his pathway to success. Here is what some students wrote about who they respect:
— By T.B.
I respect my mom because of all the stuff we’ve been through. Even when life got real hard and violent she tried her best for me and my siblings. Now she’s going to college and I don’t even know what for, but I’m so proud of her. Also I am inspired to follow her footsteps and do even better.
— By S.G.
First, I respect myself for always keeping my head up and overcoming any situation. Next I respect my mom for always finding a way and being a strong independent woman. Also I respect my son for giving me a chance to feel like I have something to live for and seeing life from another view. In addition, I respect my baby mother for keeping her head up and staying there for me and my son through all my mistakes. Finally, I respect my grandma for helping my mom raise me and my siblings for always being there for me.
— By M.P.
I respect myself and everybody else around me. Respect is the most important role of etiquette. Everybody needs respect to feel good about themselves and their neighbors. Maybe if we all practice more respectful manners the world will be better.
— By G.R.
I respect myself, grandparents, mom, family, friends and my girlfriend. Respect to me is to treat people the way you want to be treated. You also have to earn respect but you can lose it by the way you treat people.
— By G.R.
I respect myself because I need to know what I stand for. You need to have confidence to separate boundaries. I also respect my brother. He was one of the people who always wanted me to stay in school. He also wanted me to stay out of the streets. I miss him a lot. I made a promise to him before he died that I would get my GED and stay out of the streets. Most people believe respecting yourself is taking time for self-care. Always love yourself, express how you feel whenever you’re hurt. Always know your worth, and always stay active.
— By G.R.
I respect my teachers because without them I can’t chase my dreams and become the person I always wanted to be because without an education in the real world and nobody.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.