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Endorsements of Changing Lives Through Literature

Judges

"[Recently retired Probation Officer] Hank Burke and I have become reinvigorated and vested with new zeal for our work in the Trial Court as we realize that we are part of a rebirth of critical thinking and decision-making by our probationers."

The Honorable Joseph Reardon, First Justice
Barnstable District Court

"By reading great books and identifying with the characters in these books, for the first time in their lives, [probationers] begin to look at life objectively instead of subjectively."

The Honorable Joseph Dever
Lynn District Court

Probation Officers

"Changing Lives Through Literature is a great aid to judges as an intermediate sanction or alternative to a sentence...probationers see that there's a different means to deal with [their issues], different actions that may be able to be taken down the road."

Theresa Owens
Probation Officer
Taunton District Court

"Changing Lives Through Literature is one of the best programs we have in Dorchester District Court, mainly because it changes everyone's lives...It's a program where, through literature, people look at their behavior, and sometimes, this may be for the first time."

John Christopher
Probation Officer
Dorchester District Court

Students/Probationers

"The class didn't mean much to me while I was attending. My reason for joining was a suggestion as a way of making my weekly probation appointments. I was working at the time and could not schedule the appointments during work hours. In retrospect, I'm glad I attended. I don't know how much the books, the reading, and the discussions benefited me. What I took home from the class was a sense of belonging, of fitting in, of not feeling so lonely and isolated in society. Being released from prison after eighteen months is very scary. Especially to someone who can't admit they have fears. Someone who has pretended to have confidence and courage for so long that the real insecure scared person can't admit it. This group was a connection. A bond with other women who all acted one way and felt totally another. I wasn't alone.

"Also, attending on a weekly basis was good for the structure and self-discipline needed to adjust to this new beginning.

"After giving this some thought, I also realize there was another important aspect to this group. The judge, probation officer, and teacher - all authority figures to us - they were all there for us - to listen to us, guide us, and direct us. It was their belief in the program and us that helped me deal with a lot of shame. They respected me until I could learn to respect myself. I thank them all; but my most gratitude goes to Jean. She never pushed me or directed me, but somehow she inspired me to return to school. To attend classes with people half my age who had no criminal background. She inspired me to believe I could do it as well as them, if not better, and I did. Thank you."

Student
Lynn-Lowell Women's Program

"The ultimate prize upon completion of the program for me was expressing myself in class, through homework and in groups. I'll take experiences from the other guys, and feedback from the instructor, with me as I continue my journey in life."

Student
Dorchester Men's Program

Instructors

"[The purpose of Changing Lives Through Literature] is to inspire others to recreate themselves in a way that is contributory to the human experience and, in that way, to be an inspiration."

Cherie Muehlberger
Kansas Program

"To see a person change [in CLTL] before my eyes is one of the most fulfilling things that has happened to me in my life."

Trudy Schrandt
Instructor
Wrentham District Court

Community Leaders

"The Changing Lives Through Literature approach is to bring people back into the community. There are a lot of men in the program with whom I've had the opportunity to work and who are in my neighborhood yet don't feel connected to it."

Reverend Matthew Gibson
Dorchester District Court



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