Southcoast Health’s PRIDE Project presents Freedom Writers at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on August

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Southcoast Health’s PRIDE Project will present Freedom Writers at the New Bedford Whaling Museum Auditorium on Wednesday, August 26, at 7:30 p.m. The free, public event will feature Erin Gruwell, educator, nationally-known speaker, and founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation, which helped transform students’ lives in an inner-city high school in Los Angeles.

Gruwell, whose story was portrayed in the 2007 film, Freedom Writers, starring Hilary Swank, encouraged her students to read books about war and violence and document their reading in a project called the Freedom Writer’s Diary. The diary, a collection of the students’ thoughts, was published as a book and captured national attention. Gruwell and her students have appeared on numerous television shows and received dozens of awards including the prestigious Anne Frank Award.

According to Gruwell, the kids in her classes lived in a racially divided community and were already hardened by firsthand exposure to gang violence, broken homes, juvenile halls and drugs. Those obstacles that her students confronted became challenges she faced as their teacher, she said.

The PRIDE (Personal Responsibility through Intentional Development and Engagement) Project, which is run by Southcoast Health’s RAPPP Program, was developed through a grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services as part of its Youth Empowerment Program II, which aims to address unhealthy behaviors in minority males and assist them with developing skills to make healthier life choices.

The PRIDE Project is made up by a group of minority male youths, ages 12-15, from the greater New Bedford area. It offers adult skills preparation, individual sports training, self esteem building and cultural exploration.

For more information on the event, contact the RAPPP office at 508-995-0306.