Welcome to the Community Literacy Center

Where communities of writers listen, write, and SpeakOut! to make every story count

I love creative writing and never have a chance to do it as a Bachelor of Science major. I always appreciate when writers share experiences and background from their personal lives that infuence their writing.

Student intern, Natural Resources

This learning process is not one-sided. I am encouraging the writers to explore various parts of themselves, and they are teaching me so much in the process. They put my in-class studies to practical use, and give me new, clearer lenses through which to see the world, our languages, and ourselves.

Student volunteer, English

We all have a story and everyone's scars are different. We sometimes don't have anyone to listen to our stories or writing, so it's nice to be heard and have programs like this for people who are incarcerated, so that we can voice our story, and others can listen.

Writer, Larimer County Jail (Men)

I love those moments when the room is completely silent, aside from the scratch of lead on paper. Silence enough to think clearly in here is uncommonly precious.

Writer, Larimer County Work Release

How we help

Studies show that literacy activities for confined populations help to address the hopelessness and powerlessness that may follow a person from before confinement, into their time inside, and after return to their community. Through writing, readings, and discussion, SpeakOut! facilitators write, listen, and grow with hundreds of confined writers each year, encouraging individual growth and civic engagement.

More about workshops

Some numbers

We made it through COVID with remote workshops and reduced numbers. We are hopeful that it won't be long until we are back at our pre-COVID numbers of:

12 workshops annually

20 student and community volunteers

Up to 250 writers each year

400 published pages of writing and art

Meet our site partners

What we need

We rely on donors and community partners to support and fund our work. We welcome those who share a commitment to creating space for the writing and circulating of stories that enrich our collective undrstanding of justice, joy, and change in the world.


CLC Featured Work

Spring 2021 + 15-year retrospective

By Mary Ellen Sanger | June 30, 2021

Fall 2020 SpeakOut! is bold and beautiful

By CLA Webmaster | March 12, 2021

We are happy to introduce you to the Fall 2020 issue of SpeakOut!  — compiled under pandemic conditions by writers from the Larimer County Jail, Larimer County Work Release and Community Corrections, Alternative Homes for Youth and Turning Point for Youth. Earnest teams of CSU student and community volunteers found the ways to make openings […]

Spring 2021 Newsletter

By Tobi Jacobi | July 16, 2020

Inside this newsletter we have some inspiring thoughts around “self-care for the imagination,” and what a writing prompt can do, news from our recent SpeakOut! training in collaboration with PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program, and a sample prompt drawn from a poem we liked. All content generated by eloquent and creative SpeakOut! interns […]

(Almost) Winter 2020 Newsletter

By CLA Webmaster | August 16, 2019

This issue is packed with insights from interns who have spent the semester trying out new ways to connect with eager community writers. Read here some words of wisdom from CLC interns as well as some of the work that emerged from their workshops. We think you’ll find some inspiration here, and a deeper understanding […]

Fall 2020 Newsletter

By CLA Webmaster | August 16, 2019

In this issue:  COVID-19 continues and SpeakOut! continues to deliver creative writing workshops through our supportive community partners. This semester, we are more innovative than ever to make it past the limitations of social distancing and quarantines. Read on to see how we’ve teamed up to accomplish this!