Changing Lives Through Literature

Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL) is an alternative to formal court action for first time juvenile offenders and is used in conjunction with probation and parole.  The program uses the power of literature to transform lives by helping participants learn about themselves, gaining insight about their own lives and behavior.

CLTL initiates the first steps of rehabilitation by building offenders’ self-esteem, encouraging critical thinking, fostering an understanding of how actions affect others, and teaching offenders that they are not alone with their troubles.  Overall, participants learn acceptable practices for everyday life in society.

Through the Foundation’s funding, more than 557 offenders to date in Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax, have successfully completed this program which greatly reduces the recidivism rates of participants.  CLTL costs approximately $330 per probationer to complete the program as they learn the values of making more acceptable decisions in life. The Foundation is proud to fully fund this Partnership with the library, Courts, and Probation Officers.

The Fairfax County CLTL program has received awards and accolades, including an Outstanding Achievement in Local Government Innovation Award and an achievement award from the National Association of Counties.

“The girls begin each class with wariness and distrust, but as time goes on, the walls crumble and the group melds into a coherent whole, with each member willing to respond in real and unguarded ways.”

– Wendi Kaufman
Facilitator, Changing Lives Through Literature

“This program helped me to learn to think before I act and think about others.”

– Male student in Fairfax County, age 23

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