When Kathie Klarreich decided to end her decade long career of being a journalist in Haiti, she wanted to dedicate her time to focus on social change by expanding arts programs in prisons. In 2014, Kathie founded Exchange for Change, a program which facilitates anonymous writing exchanges between classrooms in correctional and court-mandated facilities, and classrooms in high schools and universities.
Exchange for Change’s mission is to teach writing in prisons, foster leadership, and promote dialogue across social and institutional barriers. They focus on collaborations that nurture empathy and advocacy and create individual and social change.
The inmates or “inside students” who participate in the program commit to attend class for about two hours every week and the program runs roughly eight to twelve weeks. Courses include memoir writing, poetry, songwriting, trauma writing and more.
Exchange for Change has grown to offer 23 courses in multiple institutions, award more than 400 diplomas for course completion, and feature exhibits of the students’ work. In addition, several of their inside students have won awards and their writing has even been published.
Kathie and her team of dedicated volunteers are stalwart supporters and advocates of the program and we are lucky to have her as part of the fabric of our community.
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