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  • Writer's pictureLynda LeVan


Founded by Dr. Victoria Bryan nearly two years ago, the Turn The Page Literacy Initiative offers literary arts education to inmates in the Bradley County Jail system. With a unique set of students, this project requires a creative approach to education. And Dr. Bryan, accompanied by teachers Desdia Dill and Haven Wright, has turned a small idea into a flourishing literary arts experience for the Bradley County Jail System.

Expanding from eight participants to nearly 75 now, Turn The Page has also grown in terms of its variety of subject material. When Turn The Page first started, the available funding limited the books to really what was available in multi-copies on the cheap side at the bookstore. But now with So Lit’s help, Dr. Bryan & Co. can focus on what their students want to read. Dr. Brown says, “We suddenly had the freedom to think about serving more than one group at a time and the ambition to start thinking about expanding into more than one jail.”

Dr. Bryan has also said the addition of more teachers has added to the variety and creativity of the project. She says, “My ideas get stale after awhile! But Dez and Haven have developed some really fun project ideas . . . Dez is running a group right now focused on reading and writing poetry . . . Haven is running a group this semester focused on artistic expression and art therapy.” This project has expanded beyond what Dr. Bryan initially conceived, and now features an array of literary arts opportunities for Bradley County inmates.

Not only has Dr. Bryan provided a needed literary arts experience, but Turn The Page has also helped inmates to better their lives. When asked some of her favorite stories from Turn The Page, Dr. Bryan said, “We’ve seen people get out of jail and and get jobs in the community. We’ve seen people choose drug court when given the option. We’ve seen people use the certificates they get from completing our program to get time off their sentence for having voluntarily engaged in educational programming. All of that serves our students in a really concrete way.” This project does not only offer an intellectually stimulating experience, but it also has a positive impact on the lives of its participants. So Lit is so proud to support Turn The Page. We love the work that Dr. Victoria Bryan, Desdia Dill, and Haven Wright are doing in the Bradley County Jail system. Dr. Bryan wants to expand Turn The Page into Hamilton County, and with your help we can make that happen! Donate to our annual fund to help Turn The Page continue to grow and change lives!

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Photo: Dr. Victoria Bryan

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