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The Signs

By Miguel Quezada

Seventeen years ago, at the age of sixteen, I sat in a juvenile hall holding cell waiting to be booked in on first-degree murder charges, three attempted murders, a gun charge and gang enhancement.

In writing this, I had to think about how I ended up in that holding cell.  What advice could I give that would help you avoid some of the mistakes I made? How could I put into words the destruction I caused in so little time to myself and so many other people in a way that could be lesson?

I asked myself, what went wrong?  What did I miss?  Why did no one stop me?  What I realized is the people did try to stop me.  Things did happen that were the lessons I needed to put my life back on track to avoid that holding cell.  There was plenty of advice but I did not care to hear or see them for what they were.  They were signs telling me to slow down, to stop, that I was moving too fast.  So I will sum up my life lesson, using the signs I missed along the road. read more

Volume 19.47/48

I woke up this mornin’

To their wake up calls Of this depressin’ Juvenile Hall.

I get up and get dressed

And wash my face

What I wouldn’t give

-Pencyke, Alameda
Please contact Lisa Lavaysse if you would like to purchase the full PDF or a printed copy of this latest issue.

The Beat Within Fundraiser

Update: We Did It! Our Booster campaign has closed.Thank you all!

You’re in luck! In honor of the holiday season, The Beat Within has launched its SECOND t-shirt fundraiser! Our first fundraiser was an incredible success thanks to the loyalty of our supporters. Due to a high demand for t-shirts after the fundraiser’s closing date, The Beat has decided to re-launch! Donations will go directly towards the printing and distributing of our publication (which comes out twice a month). By donating, you will help insure that each young person who participates in our weekly writing workshop receives our 60 page publication. Help these youth and spread the holiday love by getting yourself and your loved ones a t-shirt for the holidays. Buy one here.

Volume 19.45/46

I feel like I need to keep my emotions to myself and deal with my struggles on my own because everyone around me has their own problems to deal with. That can make you feel very alone and at the end it seems like that’s how it will always be.

– Anakarina

Please contact Lisa Lavaysse if you would like to purchase the full PDF or a printed copy of this latest issue.

19.45/46 Editor’s Note

Greetings Beat lovers. It’s an incredible honor to Though I now understand how to deal with what sometimes have this sixty-page publication in your hands and these words being read by you today/tonight. It is hard to believe this is issue 19.45/46! Wow, what a fabulous issue to share with you all too. There are so many solid contributions to read and be inspired by, as well as pieces that simply strike a nerve of sadness and pain. We cannot thank you contributors enough for the love you share with us each week in our workshops and those of you who write to us independently, how fortunate we are to have you in our circle. We appreciate you, thank you.

This editor is struggling with guilt, given the backlog of writings and letters sent, in need of a response this past year. Time is not working on our side. This tiny little program, that may appear to some to be a big ol’ organization, does so much beyond our resources, but in the end, it is never enough. One thing for sure, we certainly wish we could keep up with all the requests. Speaking of requests, tonight as we were working on this latest issue, this amazing letter, which was typed early in 2014 came to our attention. The sad part, the person who wrote this letter, we no longer have his address. Ugh. No, we do not have his CDC # either. The address and original writings were lost, but we are determined to find an address for this writer. read more

Volume 19.43/44


First, you need to mix a cup of
getting out of juvenile hall.
Second, you need to add and cut a piece of respect towards your mother.
Third, you need to measure how long
until you get off probation.
Fourth, spread a pound of going to see your probation
officer Then boil and chop up you going to school every day.
Fifth, roast your homework
and roll outside to your after school program
And combine and sprinkle some patience
at the after school program.

– Joshua

19.43/44 Editor’s Note

Given we are knee-deep into November, it’s Veteran’s Day, can we say, what a year, or shall we wait until we are a few days into December? First off, this editor and we hope the whole Beat team is quite proud of all of our accomplishments this past year, despite having to yet again rebirth our program.  A year ago at this time, we were not too sure what was going to transpire with the program’s workshops and the publication, but we persevered and as we are writing this editorial note, find ourselves in an even better place than we were in the last few years.

This year so far, we have conducted well over 40 plus workshops striving for 50, and as you see on this publication, we are publishing issues 19.43 and 19.44 for 2014!  If all goes as planned we will be publishing issues 19.49 and 19.50 the week of December 22. Given we are volunteer driven, we continue to hold monthly orientations for those interested in leading workshops inside juvenile hall.  Daily, we strive to build our network of friends and supporters, open to partner and share in the good work. You all know, it’s so much easier to do this good work with others than to be in your own silo. Plus, most importantly, we must always find time to fundraise and seek support to sustain the work. read more

What I Wrote By Ronnie Bo

What I wrote on this paper were things I knew you wouldn’t publish in the Beat. So, I tore it up. But I want you to take a picture of it and put in in the book.

Volume 19.41/42

Writing is a gift. It is our voice when we just can’t talk about it. The mode of self-expression will always allow us the time to expose our pains, our hurts and the chance to really look at them. Searching in our hearts is what The Beat Within is allowing us all to do.

– Terry Lytle’s, Volume 19.41/42 page 57

Download our latest publication here!

Volume 19.41/42 Topics

19.41 Topics

1. Agree or disagree – This week we want to know from you, if all drugs should be legalized? One way or the other, tell us where you stand, but also back it up with a story, an experience, or a reason why you feel one way or the other, if our government should legalize all drugs.

2. Bothered – This week we want you to tell us what is troubling you. It’s bad enough to hold onto the things that bug us, so today we want you to lay it all out on paper, in a respectful way, as to what is troubling you.  Can you fix it? Address it? Is it a person or news worthy item?  Something you heard from your family? What?  Regardless if it’s unfixable or not, tell us what is bothering you today.

3. The photograph  – Maybe it’s on display in your room, or tucked away in a scrapbook, or in your wallet. Maybe you no longer possess it, but it something you will forever see in your mind.  Tell us about your most important picture. Is it a picture of you? Family? A loved one?  Describe the picture and everything that makes it very special to you and something you will carry with you forever. read more