Writers in Residence is a 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to giving youths in juvenile justice systems a voice.

Starting as a student-run organization at John Carroll University, we have since expanded our reach to partner with schools and justice systems across the state of Ohio.
Writers in Residence teaches creative writing to youth who are incarcerated to empower their voices and assist in their re-entry into society.

We strive to...

reduce the recidivism rates of our residents and participate in the transformation of the juvenile justice system.

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We write to...


We believe in fostering genuine, strong, and long-lasting relationships as well as walking with our residents as they navigate the path to re-entry.


We believe in creating an environment where justice becomes visible, where restoration from wrong is possible, where people are seen as more than their worst moments, where people can create a future not doomed to repeat the past.


We believe in the power of community. We continually welcome and accept our residents into our communities to promote individuality and empowerment, especially upon re-entry. We also believe in the creation of a collaborative atmosphere that amplifies all voices together in a spirit of mutuality and kindness.


We believe that our residents deserve to discover and recognize their own dignity and self-worth through our creative writing workshops. We also believe that if we respect ourselves, our residents, and our student volunteers then we successfully lead by example.


We believe that our residents can build their self-esteem, resilience, and power through working on their writing, their reflection, their communication, through the creative writing workshop experience.


Zachary Thomas
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Spencer Dolezal
Reentry and Advocacy Director
Kelly McKay
Development Director
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Board of Directors

Rachel Schratz
Bobbi Saltzman
Vice President
Michalena Mezzopera
Paul Gehrig
Marina Giannirakis
Board Member
Skip Hill
Board Member
Phillip Metres
Board Member
Anthony Shoplik
Board Member
Russell Hauser
Board Member
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Frequently Asked Questions

Is your mentoring program effective?
What if I have been incarcerated? Can I still be a mentor?
How long does it take for me to get matched with a mentee?
How long does the mentoring relationship last?
What is the time commitment for mentoring?
What are the requirements to be a mentor?
Do I need to have writing experience to be a mentor?
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