Founded in 1997, Literature for All of Us (LFAOU) uses books and writing to facilitate circles of connection, healing and growth in the face of social inequity. By inviting participants to explore the transformative power of their own voices, it helps to build resilience. LFAOU has served some 9,000 participants in its 20 years, growing from serving 15 low-income teenage mothers to nearly 700 participants in 2018. It now serves more than 30 book groups in 14 schools and community organizations.
The Envisioning Justice initiative’s funding was be used to help LFAOU produce four weekly book groups with incarcerated youth at the JTDC (Juvenile Temporary Detention Center) and youth attending Central States SER.
The culminating result of the book group was be a poetry book, From the Streets to the School, and group poem that reflect the experiences of youth both inside and outside of the juvenile justice system.