Reading for Life’s flagship Diversion program works to keep first-time offenders from returning to the justice system. Successful graduates of Diversion may apply to have their records expunged after turning 18.
97% of graduates never face a judge again. For many, this is truly a shot at a new life.
The current Reading for Life model is a 12 week program. Participants are assessed for reading ability and placed in small groups of a similar reading level. Participants meet with trained mentors twice a week. The first week, participants chose a novel and begin to learn about the seven classic virtues of Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Fidelity, Fortitude, Hope and Charity. Some groups read one book, other groups as many as five. Students set the pace with encouragement from mentors. For the following weeks, participants discuss concepts in the books related to the virtues.
Together, mentors and participants look at the characters and situations in the novels and relate them to the virtues, evaluating actions and consequences. Mentors demonstrate that these virtues are tools for life and participants learn how to use them every day. Slowly, and often without realizing it, the students begin to implement the virtues in their own lives. The mentors connect them to worlds beyond their own, and expand their perspectives and empathy.
Participants also journal every session and every week describe one virtuous and one not-so-virtuous action they have done. Groups plan and complete a thematic community service project that ties into the readings. At the end of 12 weeks, participants give a final presentation about the books and what they’ve learned to their parents.
- Literacy / Reading
- Law Enforcement
- Teaching / Instruction
- Relationship Building
- Youth Services
Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- Driver's License Needed
- Background Check
- Must be at least 18
- Orientation or Training
- 10 weeks, 2 sessions per week at 1 hour each.
- Application on the organization's website