Social Work

Fearless Writers Program

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Toledo Fearless Writers gives high school students regular opportunities for free expression, to write about their lived experience, to collaborate and lead research on issues that matter most like neighborhood segregation, gun violence, the lost history of Black Toledo, and the consequences of COVID-19.  The program serves Toledo area high school students, with a special emphasis on Public Schools. Fearless Writers is proud of their long-standing relationship with the AVID program at Rogers High School. Fearless Writers also involves University of Toledo students as writing mentors from medicine, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, and English. Both university and high school students have regular opportunities to publish and present at local conference at The University of Toledo and BGSU.

Our Vision

Fearless Writers take on the tough social issues of our community by bringing a diverse group of young people together to write together and learn from each other.

Our Mission

To create a creative community that allows for free expression, nurtures confidence in voice, and supports collaborative, youth-led research that works to counter neighborhood segregation and implicit bias that is the consequence.

Our Values

Every voice deserves to be heard. Young people hold a unique position in our community and their observations are important to better understanding how marginalization happens in big and small ways.

A High School Social Justice Creative Writing Group

In the United States most of us that go into the health care professions have had very little experience with economic diversity. Public schools and private schools in the United States have been historical homogenous, which has created social separation which contributes to implicit bias and health disparities.

Fearless Writers is a unique opportunity for interprofessional students to mentor high school students while also learning about the diverse lived experience of a variety of neighborhoods in the surrounding community of The University of Toledo. Participants of Fearless Writers have an opportunity to share creatively, write together, and use their collective voices to confront social injustice. Fearless Writers is a collaboration between the social work program at The University of Toledo and The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Toledo Public schools. 

Students involved in the program have had opportunities to present at local conferences and have been a part of publications. Several Fearless Writers groups meet weekly to write and give feedback for an hour. If you enjoy writing and chances to be creative and are interested in learning from local youth, please contact Dr. Heather Sloane Cleary.

Current Project

This will be the second year Fearless Writers involves University and high school students with busy schedules and retired community members.

The writing focuses on The Importance of Friendship to Social Mobility: Inspired by the friendship between Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes and has writing prompts that meld social science information with poetry. This project joins Fearless Writers to narrative medicine, healthcare humanities, and narrative/interpretive research efforts throughout the country and add Fearless Writers to a thriving movement of community writing centers in the United States (NYWriters Project, New Orleans Story Project, Mighty Writers) who share a commitment to exploring injustice through creative writing.  This is the second year for Fearless Writers Community Empathy Write.

The students selected for this project are participating in research, theory, and writing group method primers before working through select social science and literature prompts.

  • Writers will be committed to writing from two literature prompts and one social science prompt monthly November 2023 – March 2024.
  • Writers must attend one live or virtual group 1 time per month over the five-month period but will also be able to complete most of the writing independently.
  • Writers must give regular virtual feedback to community members’ short/raw writing pieces online through Flip.
  • Writers will be invited to participate in research analysis in the months of May 2024 – July 2024. 
  • Application deadline Oct 30, 2023.

Apply Here

Volunteers Needed

Fearless Writers is currently looking for UToledo student volunteers to be a part of creative writing, social justice groups at Rogers High School. If you are looking for a way to give back to the community and be engaged in social justice work, we would love for you to join us.  We have a creative writing group in collaboration with “The Club” at Rogers High School on Wednesdays after school from 2:45-3:45.

Get in touch and find out how you can be a part of Fearless Writers.
Interested students should email Dr. Heather Sloane Cleary

Last Updated: 10/25/23