2018 Summer of Hope Book Tour

While working with teens, one thing I’ve learned is that no matter their differences, they all go through so much in life. Some more than others. That’s why I’m preparing to give away Stories of Hope to 10,000 teens living in the top 10 deadliest cities in America this summer. My name is Eric, and I am the creator of Writing for the Soul Workshop™.

Stories of Hope was written by teens who accessed my Writing for the Soul Workshop™ program in cities around the US. Like the caterpillar whose cathartic change becomes the most beautiful of butterflies, Stories of Hope will leave the teens that read it inspired and changed, like their peers that penned the book.

To tour all 10 cities in 5 weeks, I will need the following in funding:
$31,400 Books, Bookmarks and Fliers
$2,200 Van Rental
$2,700 Food & Lodging for 5 weeks
$900 Fuel
Total: $37,200 ($3.72 sponsors 1 teen)

To help me meet my goal, I’ve created a GoFundMe page. Will you be a part of the Writing for the Soul process? For your donation of any amount, I’ll send you a free Stories of Hope eBook. I’ll also send you updates while on tour. My first stop will be Memphis, TN beginning on July 9, 2018. I need initial funding in the amount of $3,700 by June 18, 2018 to meet this goal.  If I do not meet my goal for each city, I will simply give away as many books to teens as funding allows. If my efforts only impact the life of one teen, then my campaign is a success.

No child is born “bad.” Hurting people hurt people. Be a part of our Writing for the Soul process by making a donation today.

2018 Summer of Hope Book Tour FAQ’s

Why did I create Writing for the Soul Workshop? Because writing changed my life. I knew that writing could help others too, and I was right. To date, the program has prevented 6 teen suicides that I know of.
My first participants were Crips and Bloods.  It wasn’t the differences that brought them together, it was the pain.  Watching them write for me made me realize this one thing …writing could actually, literally, set them free. Free from the mental agony of guilt, shame and so much more. I watch as it happens every time a teen shares their story with the others during the program. Indicators include behavioral changes, better grades, abstaining from drug use and more.
You can download my free eBook “My Life in Five Words: Writing for the Soul Workshop™ at www.writingforthesoulworkshop.org to learn more.

Who are you and why are you qualified to do what you do?

Eric is CEO of TGIM Digital Publishing and founder of Writing for the Soul Workshop™. He has successfully completed Texas Department of Criminal Justice Substance Abuse Treatment Program, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Peer Recovery Support Specialist Training, Texas Department of State Health Services Peer Recovery Coach Training and Turning Points Parenting Curriculum by Caring for Kids of The Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center.

What is Writing for the Soul Workshop™?

Writing for the Soul Workshop™ is not your average writing program. Our focus is not academics, yet students who access our program begin to do better academically. When engaged, the writing program becomes a safe haven for writers to identify what they’re feeling on the inside, and to write about why they feel that way. Misspelled words and all.

Why do this, and how will it impact teens who receive a copy of the book?

Teens make up 13% of our nation, and millions of them have no clue that a writing program like ours even exists, simply because it isn’t offered in their community. Most of them have never even traveled outside of their community.  Taking copies of Stories of Hope to teens living in at-risk communities allows us to expose them to Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as well as how to access it online at no cost. When teens engage our program, in a city, the juvenile crime rate declines and property values go up.

Why the heck should people give you money for this?

Offering a program like this requires an annual operating budget of $193,700. Because we are a business with the heart of a non-profit, we do not pass on those costs to students. Our program offers better educational outcomes than school alone. As the Will Stegerson foundation reminds us, “In order to reach a kid, you’ve got the meet them where they are. And if you can meet them where they are, then you can take them somewhere else.” So many of them feel hopeless. This is what a student who submitted her story in Stories of Hope shared: “I can’t remember the last time someone told me they loved me. They appreciate me. Or that they care. I don’t trust people. I don’t know how.” -Stories of Hope

What will happen when you reach your goal of $37,200?

After reaching our goal, our first stop will be at the Foote Homes housing projects in Memphis, TN on July 9, 2018. 

Foote Homes is a legendary landmark, and is the last remaining housing project in Memphis, TN. We’ll set up a booth for teens to get a book, bookmark, flyer and access our program on the spot. We will document it using video, and send it along with a personal “Thank you.” message to all of our donors.
Our target audience is teens living in at-risk communities in the Top Ten Most Dangerous Cities over 200,000 according to Law Street for 2017. So, during the tour we’ll partner with grassroots youth organizations on the ground to meet these teens right where they’re at. Here is a schedule of cities and dates:
1. Memphis 7/9/2018 – 7/13/2018 Ranked #4
2. St. Louis 7/16/2018 – 7/20/2018 Ranked #1
3. Kansas City 7/23/2018 – 7/27/2018 Ranked #8
4. Birmingham 7/30/2018 – 8/3/2018 Ranked #3
5. Detroit 8/6/2018 – 8/10/2018 Ranked #2
6. Milwaukee 8/13/2018 – 8/17/2018 Ranked #5
7. Baltimore 8/20/2018 – 8/24/2018 Ranked #6
8. Indianapolis 8/27/2018 – 8/31/2018 Ranked #10
9. Stockton  9/3/2018 – 9/7/2018 Ranked #9
10. Oakland  9/10/2018 – 9/14/2018 Ranked #7

What will you do with the money if you do not reach your goal?

If we are not successful in reaching our goal, whatever funds we raise will be used to begin our 2018 Summer of Hope Tour. We will tour until the funding is exhausted and last copy of Stories of Hope given away. We have raised enough to begin our Tour and we believe that donations will pick up once we begin our work in Memphis, Tennessee.

What impact will this have on society?

2018 has already offered an emotional punch for everyone in our society, especially our teens. They witnessed the largest mass school shooting in history, and some of them didn’t make it. Our country seems more emotionally charged than in times past, and our youth need social emotional skills to cope with these emotions. It is clear to us that for them, expressive writing has some clear emotional and psychological benefits. Benefits that along with education, will prepare them for the 21st Century Workforce and to deal with life on life’s terms. Hurting people hurt people, and they take out their pain on the world around them. Imagine a program for teens that helps to make the hurting stop. That is our impact on society.

What testimonials have you had in the past?

“This workshop is incredible!!” -Jeffery Powell, North County Recreation Complex Manager in St. Louis
“It was fun to watch the kids get excited about writing as they learned about how to get what’s on the inside out.” -Duane Gruis, United Cerebral Palsy Heartland
“I liked this workshop because the workshop it gave me a chance to express my feelings through writing.” – Nate
“I liked the workshop because I got to express myself and hear Eric’s story.” – Daelyn

“What I liked about this is the writing because I love to write poetry and I always wanted to write a book about my life.  I get to express my feelings on paper and someone has the curiosity to read how I feel deep within me.  I loved everything about it.” – Aujanae

“I liked the workshop because I got to express what I feel on paper and our work is published and other people’s stories may be similar to my story” – MaKayla

“One of the great things about this Writing for the Soul program is that it gives you control over your emotions. You don’t express those things in unhealthy ways. You do it in healthy and productive ways by writing it all out.” -Dr. Stevie Dawn, Emotional Intelligence Expert

Can I make a Tax deductible donation instead of using GoFundMe?

Donate Today

Writing for the Soul Workshop™ is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non‐profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Writing for the Soul Workshop™ must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” and are tax‐deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Click the link to make a secure online donation, or mail checks made out to Fractured Atlas to: TGIM Digital Publishing, 1617 Park Place Ave, Suite 110-TGIM, Fort Worth, TX 76110.

TGIM Digital Publishing is a BBB Accredited Business with an A+ Rating and recipient of the BBB Gold Star Award. Have questions? We’d be happy to answer them, simply use the Contact Form below.

Shine by Lisa Griffiths

Don’t let the voices of the past rob you of your future.

What “they” said against you was from their own insecurity.

They don’t know you and what you’re capable of.

You might not even realize what you’re capable of, but trust me …

You’ve been refined in the fire.

You’re going to shine and do incredible things!

Lisa wrote this poem for the kids accessing our Writing For the Soul Workshop™ program to encourage them. Not only is she an avid supporter of our writing program, Lisa is one of 17 survivors of child abuse and child trafficking published in Removing Chains of Child Abuse. The book was made possible through a global community partnership with Ark of Hope for Children. Take a look at what one customer said after reading the book:

Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
“The collective voices of this anthology rise up as a rightful specter over the insidious realities of child abuse in all its forms. Thank you to its authors for finding the courage to speak to child abuse’s immediate and long-lasting effects. Whether you are a similar victim – or not – the take-away from this worthy effort is one of great emotion and necessary education. Only through the later, can we cause change. A must read…”

Removing Chains of Child Abuse

The short stories, art and poetry collected in Removing Chains Child of Abuse are from survivors of human trafficking, child abuse and bullying.

This project was made possible through our Community Partnership with Ark of Hope for Children. Ark of Hope is a human rights umbrella organization using a trauma informed approach to serve survivors through various programs. This includes our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ program.

These powerful stories allowed those who submitted them to experience writing and art as therapy. They give hope to the survivors reading them that they are not alone and they too can recover. This book is packed with resources  for those still suffering, as well as signs to look for if someone suspects that a child is being abused. Book includes a journal at the back. Proceeds from book sales benefit Ark of Hope for Children.

Kurko Inspires: When The Odds Are Stacked Against You

“Sometimes in life, you may feel as if the odds are stacked against you. This is the point where you buckle down and push hard to get through the day. For tomorrow will become yesterday with a little  faith. Push forward, it won’t last forever …unless you let it.

We as humans are flawed, each and every one of us. We all have issues. What we do with our feelings defines us to a point. Feelings are hard to deal with for most of us.

With that said, think of something in your life that hurt you. Afterwards, you probably felt changed. Maybe you lost some joy, trust or that deep down goodness. Then multiply that over and over. That’s what some of us go through.

Never being able to deal with that first issue that hurt you -when multiplied by more hurtful events, can take a toll. Makes your light go from dim -to darkness. Well, I want you to know that you are not alone. Don’t believe me? Then read my book entitled ‘Issues’. When you’re done, use the Contact Form below to connect with me. Who knows. Perhaps, we can be there for each other.”  -Kurko Inspires

Issues by Paul Kurko

In his autobiography entitled Issues, Paul Kurko talks about the resentments he had when his mom died. Resentments that eventually led him on path straight to prison.

When Paul submitted his story to our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Peer Support program, I asked him “Why do you want to share your story?” He said, “Dude, I’m worried about the younger generation coming up out there. I’m a father now, and I don’t want them to experience everything like I did. They need to know that their past does not define their future. Maybe my story will show them.

“This page turner will grab you. In it, Paul doesn’t hold back. He says what he means and means what he says. That’s why we know you’re going to love his story. It’s real.” -Eric L. Jones, Sr., Publisher

Buy The Book $9.99Download The eBook $4.99


Step beyond the pages of Elsie’s latest release, and into her new apparel.

Stay warm in this Elsie Varn Harrell Book Club hoodie throughout the cold months. It’s breathable and extra thick for added warmth. It’ll remind you that Elsie’s thrillers are different, and that the good guys in her novels still wear the White Hat.

Youth: S M L XL: $39.99

Adult: S M L XL: $39.99 XXL: $41.99 XXXL $43.99

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More by Elsie Varn Harrell


Renée Walker bids TGIM “Farewell.”

Today I come to you with a saddened heart, but solemn gratitude in writing this announcement. As of Friday, October 13, 2017, I have decided to pursue other avenues in my writing career. My passion for writing comes from reading many books in my childhood. I still have the same adrenaline rush when I open a new book, which has the distinctive smell and feel that only true readers enjoy.

“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a book.” – J.K. Rowling

My passion for screenwriting has opened new doors for me.  We are currently filming a TV series that requires the majority of my time and attention. TGIM and Writing for the Soul Workshop will always have a special place in my heart. I would like to thank the amazing Eric Jones for giving me the opportunity to work with him. I value the teachings and the publishing experience I received. Eric is not only a creative entrepreneur but also a good friend.

I bid a farewell and great success for TGIM.

Renée Walker

Note from our CEO

I’ll never forget the day that I first interviewed Renée for the internship position as publisher with us. I knew then, that she would be a tremendous asset to this brand. What I didn’t know, was that she would leave behind a legacy. Literally.

Right after successfully completing her on-boarding and training, Renée went on to adapt our writing program for adults who wanted to share their stories with the next generation. We named it the Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy Program. Under her care, the program went on to publish its first book entitled, ‘Timeless Memories‘.

Words can’t express how grateful I am to Renée for all she accomplished while with us, or how proud I am of her latest work as a screenwriter entitled: “Let The Church Say …” that will premier this Saturday during the Rack Focus Film Festival at The Texas Theater in Dallas.

Renée, I am forever grateful for all that you’ve done as publisher here at TGIM. You set a really high bar for our next intern. But, I’m most grateful for our friendship. Break a leg this Saturday! 🙂


Step beyond motivation into impact with Kurko Inspires.

Paul’s books are displayed beautifully on the back of this Kurko Inspires hoodie. Show your support of Paul’s message to those hurting, while wearing your warm hoodie well into the cold months.

Youth: S M L XL: $39.99

Adult: S M L XL: $39.99 XXL: $41.99 XXXL $43.99

Colors: Black Blue Red White

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More by Kurko Inspires


Family Man by Bettye Westbrook

My name is Bettye Jones-Westbrook.  I was born in a family of ten siblings. Six sisters and four brothers. My parents did the best that they could to raise us with God’s help.  My parents were not educated.  My momma learned to read when my oldest sister started school. They learned together.  My daddy never learned to read.  Education was important for his children though, so we had to go to school.  Daddy was the first-born out of his siblings.  His father’s name was Matthew, and he was born during slavery. When slavery ended, my grandfather had no family except his father and mother, because his two brothers were sold during slavery.


Daddy worked hard farming, and at the end of the year, he would just break even. One day, Daddy came home and said to my mother that they did not make it.  Because he did not break even, they lost the farm. But he had an option to stay on the farm and continue work for the person that he was share chopping with …but God.


I can remember how Daddy would only buy what they did not raise on the farm.  He came home with a barrel of flour, sugar, salt and the major items. Momma would use the flour sacks along with some cloth to make our dresses. I can remember momma looking in the Sears catalog to make our dresses, and that was a gift from God.  Daddy was the best dad. He would take us riding in the horse and wagon.  He owned a horse named Bob, and a mule named Ole Jim.


At the age of twelve, I can remember my daddy saying, “Yes sir” to a white boy my age. I stood there feeling so awful, and I think the young guy was embarrassed too. But that was him, and the time he was from.  You see, Daddy was born July 3, 1903. My parents bought their first truck in 1953, and my brother was the driver.  


My daddy loved God above all.  He was the janitor at our church.  He also served as a deacon.  I can remember momma telling us that she taught daddy a verse in the Bible each week, so when he helped with the devotion, no one would know that he could not read. What love!


My Daddy would take us to Church every Sunday.  Ironing, playing ball and cards was not allowed because Sunday was Holy.  With the help of God, my daddy kept his family together. He was a family man. God blessed him to see six of his children grown and doing well and a host of grandchildren. He had one son in college, and two in school when he went home to be with the Lord. I loved my dad, and I thank God for him. When up against the odds, he didn’t give up. He made a stand and trusted God for everything.

About Timeless Memories

For centuries, we have used story telling as a way to maintain our traditions, values, and history.  As we have transitioned to the 21st century, we use the internet and social media to share who we are -creating a gap in our story telling traditions for those that experienced some of the most prolific events of the last 100 years.  The Great Depression, two World Wars, miraculous medications and awesome inventions mark some of the incredible happenings witnessed first hand by today’s seniors, many of whom do not use email or the internet.  The stories of how we lived life before computers may be lost in the shuffle from paper and pen to bits and bytes.

Timeless Memories: Our Legacy for Your Generation is a compilation of stories, poems and reflections of the seniors participating in our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy Program.  This one of a kind program offers a platform for our writers to leave a footprint of their history to this generation and beyond.

A portion of all sales benefit St. Luke A.M.E. Church in Waco, Texas, provider of Writing for the Soul Workshop Legacy.

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