Program for Youth Mentoring Through Literature Gains County Support
By Bill Schmitt, ND Newswire
Reading for Life, an innovative literature-based mentoring program that provides an alternative to prosecution for low-risk juvenile offenders, was recently awarded county funding to sustain its operation in St. Joseph County, Ind. With the unanimous approval of the county council and commissioners, Judge Peter J. Nemeth of the St. Joseph Probate Court has appropriated basic funding for Reading for Life for 2012.
Peter Morgan, executive director of St. Joseph County’s Thomas N. Frederick Juvenile Justice Center, points out, “Reading for Life has been more successful in diverting young people from the juvenile justice system than traditional programs such as community service. The program’s success makes it very cost-effective.”
Developed at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI), Reading for Life is a character education diversion program that focuses on seven cardinal and theological virtues, and engages youth in small-group discussions of classic and contemporary literature with trained mentors. The goal is to encourage young people to make more prudent life choices. The program mentors juvenile offenders through the Juvenile Justice Center’s probation department.
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