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We are pleased to announce Natalie Blake as our July 2022 Goodness Grant recipient!
Natalie is the mother of six remarkable children. She loves spending time outdoors and writing short stories on her blog. Her love for reading and writing has become a powerful tool for providing service.
While working on her Masters degree in English in 2018, Natalie became aware of a need amongst incarcerated individuals. The average reading level for those incarcerated is the fourth grade level. Many of these individuals have not received sufficient reading or writing instruction.
Natalie recognized a great opportunity—she would be the one to help them improve their writing skills. To avoid content restrictions, she began creating her own curriculum and mailing it in to participating individuals in various prisons. The curriculum provides assignments that focus on basic grammar, writing, and communication skills. This curriculum is the start of her foundation, Fountain Pen Education. Currently, Natalie works with participating students from prisons in Texas, Utah, California, and Oregon.
Her students use writing as a method of healing and discovery. One student, Chris, took on an assignment that invited him to write his story in the third person. He began to see his previous experiences from the perspective of others who were involved or affected. Due to this newfound perspective, Chris re-connected with family members he hadn’t spoken to in years and began to transform his life.
Natalie also works with Books Inside, a foundation that supplies prisons with a collection of books and reading materials. Books Inside, and her own foundation, Fountain Pen Education, have become great partners in supporting the reading and writing skills of many participants.
Throughout her time of service, Natalie has been a witness to the stigma around incarcerated individuals. She hopes that her work will bring social change and exposure to the issue. Many of the students she works with make an incredible effort to change their lives and positively influence society.
If you are interested in learning more about Fountain Pen Education, Books Inside, or Natalie’s work, we invite you to visit this contact form.
To visit Natalie's blog of short stories, click here.