One of my favorite things

I've been doing an outreach program called Read to Me at the women's section of the Adult Correctional Facility this month - one of my favorite opportunities my job has afforded me. In three evenings, six residents and I get together and enjoy children's literature. They have long, productive work days, yet they come to the sessions ready to share stories, ask questions, and participate fully in the discussion. I always bring bags full of books that highlight different early literacy skill areas, and of course, read some favorite books aloud. We watch videos, read poems, talk about how libraries have changed (yet remain the same), and laugh. At the end of the program, the residents send a book, a tape recording of themselves reading from that book, and a photo to their child. I have the best time.

I have done this program for two years now, and it never even occurred to me to wonder about what kinds of offenses land someone in a correctional facility (as opposed to a jail or a prison) until my husband asked about it. Well, in Hennepin County, the ACF houses those convicted of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor and sentenced by the district court for up to one year.

This program is definitely one of my favorite things.

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