Incredible Alpha School drummers!!

Awe inspiring experience at Clark Co. Juvenile Detention Center

Go to On Tour/​Pics section to see pics from my visit to Clark Co. Juvenile Detention Center!

Alpha School Gospel choir!!

Me and the Awesome Alpha School Students!!

The dedicated teachers and administrators of the Alpha School of Excellence!!


The winning bookmark by Derek Padakowski, Pemberton H.S.!!


Sixteen year-old Jayson Porter wants to believe things will get better. But the harsh realities of his life never seem to change . . .
After the sudden and violent death of his father, there remains only one certainty in Keith Jamesís life: everything is going to be different now...
IN THIS GRIPPING STORY, four very different teens reveal their deepest feelings and fears during a day in which the hurts and struggles of high school escalate dangerously . . .
Fun poems about the "ups & downs" of being small!!
"His free verse is highly rhythmic and demands to be performed." (SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL)
Check out my poem "Twelve" in this very cool new compilation!
2 Author's inspired by 1 piece of art. Check out "The God of St.James and Vine."
"NOT LIKE TV" by Jaime Adoff

Top Of My Head

PROJECT JERICHO-CHANGING LIVES-Clark County Detention Center . . .

February 26, 2010

Tags: PROJECT JERICHO-CHANGING LIVES-Clark County Detention Center . . .

I recently had one of the best and most inspiring experiences of my career. I was asked to speak at the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center in Springfield Ohio, just a few miles from my home. The day which included two more talks at Clark State Community College with High School students and the general public was sponsored and put together by an incredible organization called Project Jericho. I was a part of a series called Inside the walls outside the box. Where Artists are asked to come and speak to youth in detention then to speak to at risk youth, some of whom have just been in detention but are now out. Project Jericho, recognized by former first lady Laura Bush as one of the best programs of it's kind in the country, is a shining example of how determined people who value our youth can really make a difference in changing the course of a teenager's life. Setting them upon a path of hope instead of destruction.
I spoke to approximately 40 or so teens who were incarcerated usually for short periods of time. I found them to be some of the brightest and most intelligent teens I have ever worked with. All of them had read my latest novel, "The Death of Jayson Porter." All had to pass a comprehension test on the book in order to be a part of the group that met with me. All of them wrote reflections inspired by the book and created amazing artwork also inspired by the book. Their questions, and comments were incredibly insightful, filled with a kind of intellectual curiousity and wisdom usually not seen amongst that age group. A magistrate from the court sat in for most of the entire two hour workshop and she told the kids that what they had just participated in was akin to a college lecture and they should be very proud of themselves. She was absolutely right. We discussed the book on the highest of levels. The youth had not just read it, but completely internalized every broad and small stroke of my pen. All of the teens told me over and over again how Jayson and his plight mirrored their lives to a T. They brought up subtleties that made me wrack my brain to come up with an answer that would match the high level of their question. These kids were sharp, I believe gifted. Yes, I know not what you would think you would find at a Juvenile detention center, but that is the beauty of the program called Project Jericho. It instills a sense of confidence and hope infused with responsibility and what I feel is the most essential ingredient, RESPECT. Every teacher, guard and staff worker in attendance treated these teens with respect. And I believe because of this the teens treated everyone in attendance the same way. It was amazing for me to see the mutual respect and understanding shown between the adults and the teens. These kids were valued for once in their lives, they were not told they were stupid,that they were just criminals, that they would never amount to anything. Through project Jericho and the commited director, judges and magistrate of the Clark County Juvenile system, these young teens are getting a new lease on life. This is not punishment for the sake of punishment, this is a real learning experience that is actually changing and transforming lives.
There was such a huge disconnect for me when it was time for me to go. Watching these same kids who had just conducted, and I am being completey honest here, one of the most intellectually astute and challenging book discussions I have ever been a part of, such a huge disconnect for me having to watch them being led to their pods, their cells. Knowing they would have to go back to being locked up. It just didn't compute in my mind. It was like we all should have just gone across the street to Starbucks and continued our discussion on writing. Discussing the finer points of plot and character development that we began inside those walls of confinement. But as I write this I realize that those walls, at least for the youth I met are actually walls of freedom. Walls of hope. Walls of encouragement and walls of love. I am going to follow up with these kids, I am going to make sure that they stay on the right track. I now feel a responsibility to them. And I hope that they will read this and feel a responsibilty to me as well. There are many novels and books of poetry I look forward to reading that I know will be written by some of those teens. I want them to know that I am clearing off space on my bookshelf right now.
Don't let me down now, when you get out, I am expecting wonderful things from you all. You have shown your intelligence your artistry and your ability to be successful and productive members of society.
You can do it, I know that you can!!
*I will post pictures of the visit when I get them. Please check out the project Jericho website and see what is possible, see how one committed organization is helping to turn young lives around.


  1. March 2, 2010 2:18 PM EST
    Jaime Adoff
    Your recent visit was unimagenble,inspiring and a once in a lifetime opputunity.Not just for me but the whole entire facility.I have never read a book that was so related to the real life struggle not just Jayson but every character in your amazing novel.Meeting you was so much of a honor your more than a author your a real life super hero.I have told many peole about your book when i write them back home.I tell them how your story has inspired a juvenile delinquent.My life,my thoughts and my story have a major part of you in them now.I know you're good at what you do and i would be mad,sad and filled with emotion if you were to ever stop writing.I am a poet but you are a life saving author.Any one can write a book but you dont write you live the book.For the past experieces you've have encountered.The very day i met you is a day i will always remember for a lifetime.Thank you jaime adoff i cant wait until my book that is ispired by you is taking one spot on your emty book shelf.
    - Sean.
  2. March 2, 2010 2:49 PM EST
    I am a Probation Officer, who was in attendance to this remarkable event. It was not only a great pleasure to have witnessed a great writer in the flesh, but Project Jericho (Ms. Beth Dixon) does an outstanding job presenting these incarcerated kids with some form HOPE. A HOPE that they can and/or have the ability to accomplish anthing they put there mind too!
    - The PO
  3. March 2, 2010 2:59 PM EST
    i am one of the kids that expirienced the workshop. it was fun and i could relate to alot about the book. especially the abuse and stress that jayson went through. the book let me know that i aint the only one in the world that goes through stuff like that and it made me feel like i am not alone when i go through my stuggles in life.the part that i liked best about the book is that he developed love for this girl he met and he could go to her when things wasnt working out at home. i like that part because it sounds just like me too. because i can always go to my girlfriend and talk to her about anything no matter what it is and i never feel embarrassed about it because i know she wont tell anybody.

    p.s. i just wanted to thank you jaime adoff for writing that book that so much of us could relate to and i want to thank you for coming in and doing that workshop with us

    -Robert H
    - Robert
  4. March 2, 2010 3:08 PM EST
    Hey how you doin' mr. adoff?
    I just wanted to thank you again for coming and i read your book and it helped me out a lot. cuz usually I feel like I'm the only one out there in the wrong. and when I read that book, it made me realize that there are other people out there going through the same thing as me, basically. Your characters were really great, cuz Jayson seems just like me and Jayson's best friend Trex reminds me of my cousin, John, cuz I can tell him anything.

    I'm excited to read your book called Names Will Never Hurt Me.

    I hope to see you soon --

    - Burt
  5. March 2, 2010 3:56 PM EST
    Dear Jaime,
    My name is Robert. I'm 17 and I'm the one that woke my cell buddy in the middle of the night when I finished reading The death of Jayson Porter. Your book absolutely opened my eyes in so many ways. Throughout my reading of the book I found myself looking at Jayson as myself in some situations during my experiences. I'm aware of the blog you posted. It home on so many levels. It touched my heart, made my eyes begin to water. Well I would love to keep in contact so if you would please email me.
    - Robert
  6. March 2, 2010 4:02 PM EST
    Mr Adoff,
    Well um...I thought it was cool of you to come and explain your life and this book. This was the best book I have ever read. It also reminded me of my life cause I've been threw it all, my mom used to beat me. I was picked on, stressed and felt like killing myself and I have ran away a lot because of that. Me and Jayson are pretty much the same. We both have an inside and an outside game. Well I hope you come out with new books like The Death of Jayson Porter. I really would like that. I'll also be looking for all the other books you've already written.

    Thanks --
    - Danny
  7. March 2, 2010 4:05 PM EST
    Dear Mr. Adoff,
    You have inspired me to set a lot of goals when I get outta here. That book makes me want to write my own book of poetry and stuff like that. I have even came up with my own book title. "The Poems of Wade M Life" How's that for a title? What you wrote us made me feel like somebody that can do what he wants if I put my mind to it. Thank you.
    - Wade
  8. March 2, 2010 4:08 PM EST
    I really enjoyed you coming down to the Clark County Juvenile detebtion center to discuss your latest book, The Death of Jayson Porter. I never met an author before. I really liked your book. I read it in 1 day. I couldn't put it down once I started it. I just wanted to tell you that I really appreicate it and I'm grateful for you coming here. Thanks!

    - Chris
  9. March 2, 2010 4:18 PM EST
    Thank you all for your wonderful heartfelt comments. I want you all to know that I meant every word I said in my blog. I really believe in each and every one of you. I know you all can be whatever it is you put your mind to. I also know that you can and will make good choices in the future. You have so much to look forward to. Think of all the great things you can do with your lives. The possibilities are limitless!! I might even have to build another bookshelf!!!
    I hope you all continue to keep me updated on what you're doing. You know I'll be checkin' up on you and as much as I enjoyed being at the detention center I really don't want to see ANY of you there the next time I visit. Okay?
    Take care,
    your friend,

    - Jaime Adoff
  10. March 2, 2010 6:17 PM EST
    Dear Jaime,
    This is Joseph. I just wanted to say that your book was something that I will never forget. Not only did I just learn about Jayson, but I also learned that no matter what happens in life, don't never give up on hope. And there will sooner or later be happiness as long as you don't give up. The book really helped me.
    Thank you
    - Joseph
  11. March 2, 2010 6:23 PM EST
    Dear Mr. Adoff,
    I had a wonderful time when you came to the detention center. And it's good to know more about your book. Because when I first read the book I really didn't understand until I read it the second time. And now that I know about the book I feel bad that I couldn't raze my hand an ask you a question about the book but it's ok. Um an I hope that we get to meet again. An I can't wait until I get out becuase I want my mom to know about you an I want her to read your book an see what she got to say about your wonderful book so that's what I'm gonna do. Oh an by the way I've read your book five times and haven't got tired of it yet. So thank you for sharing your book The Death of Jayson Porter with me and the JDC thank you.

    - Marcel
  12. March 10, 2010 2:47 PM EST
    Dear Mr. Adoff,

    I really thought the book was good. It was kind of sad though there was a really big twist. About how he found out about his parents, I thought it was a neat way of writing it. A different type of a poem. I wasn't here the day that you came to JDC, but I read the book the first couple of days I was here. But I have on question? Why did you write a book about suicide? And where did you get he idea of the book and the details? Well besides me wondering where you got the ideas for the book, I thought it was great.
    - Josh
  13. March 10, 2010 2:51 PM EST
    Dear Mr. Adoff,

    The Death of Jason Porter was a very good book. I didn't get to meet you at the Juvenille because I got out the day you came. Why did you write a book about suicide. The ending was a little rough for Jason. I wish I was good at writing stories. If I was Jason I would have moved out of my mom's house and got my own house.
    - Justin