Another Round of Changing Lives Through Literature

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Choking back tears of joy tempered by endured pain, the participant relates how the Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL) has profoundly affected her in ten short weeks. Meeting on Thursday evenings in Salem throughout October was challenging, but the participants are all smiles and eloquent as they discuss how the program has touched them.  It’s powerful to witness and as facilitator, there is no greater joy. 

CLTL is a program for people on probation where there are probation officers and court officials to support the program.  Participants meet weekly and discuss an assigned reading by a volunteer facilitator.  The power of communing around literature creates rich and diverse conversations.   The program allows participants to reflect and share; ultimately, an opportunity to consider their own lives.  There’s growing research that the program has a positive influence on recidivism rates.  Another body of research connects reading literature with increased empathy, which could explain the reduction in recidivism. 

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Artistic endeavors are central to human existence.  Many have experienced a life-altering encounter with the arts.  CLTL helps participants find deeper and more positive meaning in their life, enough to change their lives.  With the end of another session of CLTL, I would like to profoundly thank Salem Access Television for volunteering a meeting space.  I also thank the Salem Probation Department including Dolores Gormley, Richard Ferrino, Jeff Dowd, & Julie Abreu, along with Judge Robert Brennan for their support, and of course, the participants.

Visit the Changing Lives Through Literature website for more information about CLTL.

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