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There are no public libraries anywhere near Safe Passage, and the books found in public schools rarely get kids excited about reading. In response to this challenge, the Safe Passage library was founded in 2004. Every day we show the kids that there is more in a book than just letters that there is a whole world to discover.
In the morning, for example, the library is part of the Creative Expression Program, which means that students between the ages of 12–20 can choose from among three different ways to express themselves: art, music, and literature. In the literature sphere, the students work on creating their own magazine publication. The voices of our students and their community from the garbage dump zone are often marginalized in public discourse, so the magazine is one little -but important- step to make their voice heard.
The afternoon activities involve elementary school kids ages 6–12. The goal is to get the students into contact with literature from an early age. We are trying to take it a step further than just getting the children to read. We create an ongoing dialogue between the book and each child's imagination. In order to make that happen, we actively engage the kids in the books they read through interactive activities and discussions. In this way, we get the kids involved with the stories so that they can make connections between the literature and their own lives.
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