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Writing in Non-Traditional Settings: Exchange for Change!

After 4 months in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, teaching Writing to a group of dynamic students, it’s time to say good bye.

I’m looking forward to returning to Miami because I’m going to work as a writing instructor for the nonprofit Exchange for Change, recently started by South Florida writer Kathie Klarreich. Echange for Change, which is an outgrowth of a writing exchange that Kathie was doing in the prisons with local universities and high schools, now has a live website!

“Although I have spent most of my career as a journalist, working in correctional institutions and partnering with our ‘outside’ classrooms for the last several years has been the most interesting, fulfilling and meaningful work I have ever done.” Kathie Klarreich

The site is a work in progress – eventually it will include the writings of our students (both inside and outside the correctional institutional classrooms);  a resource page; links to other prison writing programs; facts and figures; testimonies from the participants; board bios as well as our advisory board that includes such prestigious writers as Edwidge Danticat and Russell Banks.

Consider Exchange for Change in your end-of-the-year giving. If you do so this Thursday, November 20, as part of GIVE MIAMI DAY, we will receive a portion of matching funds. No obligation, of course, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to support us. Please pass this along to others who might be interested in our work.


What we do:

  1. Help prisoners forge identities beyond their crimes to help them move forward

  2. Counter existing narrow representations and perceptions of incarcerated people

  3. Raise awareness about the effects of incarceration on individuals, families and communities

  4. Open up dialogue about how we are shaped by our various social and individual contexts

  5. Leverage the potential for written exchanges to create productive systemic change

Exchange for Change provides opportunities for creative, intellectual and public engagement through writing. We facilitate anonymous writing exchanges between traditional and nontraditional classrooms, including public and private high schools and universities, correctional and transitional facilities, and court-mandated classrooms.

I strongly believe that our work is changing lives, and with enough momentum we can add to the groundswell of those working hard to implement necessary and critical judicial reform.


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