I’ve found the perfect tonic to lift my spirits when I become depressed over this nonsensical and often dysfunctional world. I arrange a visit with the young people who are the brains and brawn behind the Simpson Street Free Press, and then my hope for the future is restored.
Ben Reddersen, one of the youth paper’s veteran staff members, arranged a meeting with several of the nonprofit’s senior staffers to relay some exciting news. The Free Press, which serves as an afterschool academic program for scores of middle- and high-schoolers, and even some elementary kids, is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
The highly acclaimed youth program was founded in 1992 in the old Simpson Street neighborhood by local volunteer Jim Kramer and a group of parents to improve opportunities for children. They organized a group of mostly kids of color to spend several hours after school reading and researching, writing and rewriting stories about what they learned and then publishing them in a quarterly newspaper.