Hannah Wells

Mansfield Senior student Hannah Wells was one of 50 teens from across the country chosen to work on a book titled Dear Freedom Writer.

MANSFIELD -- As she sat in the dark corner of her junior English class, Hannah Wells wanted nothing more than to remain unseen, unheard, and unnoticed.

Like many teens during the pandemic, she was struggling with thoughts and feelings that she had stuffed far down in hopes of forgetting. But her teacher had something else in mind.

Hannah, along with hundreds of other teens across the nation, was nominated by her English teacher to take part in a virtual book-writing project with The Freedom Writers Foundation.

Hannah Wells

Hannah was chosen to be one of 50 students across the nation to take part in writing her story to share with the world, heal her own wounds, and give voice to all teens. Once chosen, Hannah’s journey toward healing began.

While the rest of the world was reeling and searching for balance, Hannah chose writing to journey toward healing. Hannah, along with 50 other teens, her teacher, Ering Gruwell, and the Freedom Writers began and completed writing a book, Dear Freedom Writer, at the height of the pandemic.

As our world shut down, students were some of the most impacted among us, as risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation increased. Instead of giving in to these thoughts and feelings, Hannah decided to empower herself through her writing.

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The Freedom Writers realized that now more than ever, the need for community and emotional release would be too great to ignore. So, how do 100 writers from around the world co-author a book in the middle of a global health emergency, economic crisis, and civil unrest? Simple ... by any means necessary.

Hannah met with other students across the United States, war-torn regions of the Middle East, young Kurdish refugees in Germany, and the Freedom Writers Foundation via virtual platforms to reach across borders to engage in an unforgettable learning experience and bring Dear Freedom Writer to life.

Dear Freedom Writer is composed of 50 letters and their corresponding replies. Student authors and the Freedom Writers address issues that span generations, such as struggles with abuse, racism, discrimination, poverty, incarceration, teen parenthood, mental health, self-harm, imposed borders, LGBTQIA+ identity, and police violence.

Dear Freedom Writer brings together 100 different voices to share experiences of grief, pain, triumph, healing, and solidarity, with each story so bravely written that it inspires empathy and hope. Hannah Wells quickly realized she was far from unseen, undheard, and unnoticed.

Now a high school senior, Hannah is a published author, who has left the comfort of Mansfield and the corner of the classroom to launch her book and share her story in Los Angeles, California.

Hannah has given voice to her pain and experienced hope and healing through the writing process. For more information about The Freedom Writers Foundation or to get your copy of Dear Freedom Writer, please visit: http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org.

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