Words Beyond Bars

Karen Lausa is putting her heart and soul into this project. What are you passionate about? What would like to share here?

Words Beyond Bars- Heals and Inspires

Words Beyond Bars

A few years ago, I was moved by the plight of juveniles serving life sentences without the possibility of parole in our Colorado correctional facilities. I brainstormed a program that combined my librarian skills with a passion for second chances for those who are otherwise forgotten.

By creating a community of readers, and by encouraging respectful, nonjudgmental discourse that validates each participant’s self-worth, spirits are lifted and a sense of hope replaces desperation. This small program is impacting the offenders in measurable ways, and the program is growing – one book at a time, one moving discussion at a time – and resonates long after the last page has been read. How does one pass along the gift of reading?

The Words Beyond Bars program uses literature to examine who we are and to learn how to build and sustain meaningful relationships. Words Beyond Bars fosters hope and quality of life for those serving time. Characters, plots and historical settings drive the conversation from the pages of the book into the hearts and memories of the incarcerated. Perspectives shift as we discuss life choices, fear, regret and hope for a better future. Literature can chart the path to developing critical thinking skills. Reading is more than a tool –  it’s a process of engagement, preparing those who will eventually re-enter society, as well as easing the adjustment to life within prison.

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Contact karenlausa@gmail.com for more information and to find out how to get involved.

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