XENIA — For those clients of the Greene Leaf program, picking out a popular children’s book to read is a piece of cake. It’s what follows that brings those books alive, from the inmates’ narrative of the selected book that’s been recorded, to the presentation of the audio on an MP3 player, to the inmate’s family.
Jonathan Platt, director of the Story Chain program, (which he started in 2014), helps inmates in local correctional facilities connect with their children through the stories they record themselves. Platt works with men and women incarcerated in a detention facility and asks them about their literacy history amongst other questions. The program partners with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the Greene County Public Library.
Between 200-300 books are checked out from the GCPL and kept in two separate mobile storage lockers which function as mini libraries. Participants in the Story Chain project pick out one book to read and record. Books are chosen with the child’s age and interests in mind.
Recently, 10 inmates, participants in Greene Leaf and the Story Chain project, were given an opportunity to discuss their book preferences and who they would like to read to the most if given the opportunity.
“I’d like to read and record books for children with cancer,” said Corbet Justice, who’s wife died of brain cancer. His two step-children are grown and he thinks his wife would approve of his choice of Dr. Seuss books to read out loud. Justice is housed at the Adult Detention Center on Greene Way Boulevard as part of Greene Leaf’s Residential Program. Inmates can spend a month to six months at the center.
Established in 2002, Greene Leaf is a therapeutic community for male and female drug abuse offenders sentenced through Greene County courts.
Female inmates at the Greene County Jail are also given the opportunity to participate in the Story Chain project as a mobile library has been assigned there as well.
Additionally, community leaders are invited to stop in and listen to participants and offer their feedback and high school students have added music to the recordings. After a two year absence, Platt is back interacting with various groups and couldn’t be happier.
“This is my favorite program, we have a lot of fun,” said Platt. “You guys are good people.” The Yellow Springs resident will return to the ADC on Wednesday, March 9, at 2:30 p.m. for another literacy profile session which will continue for the next 10 weeks.
Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.