Since 1999, the Institute for Positive Living has had the success of its Open Book Program as its major focus. Open Book is a multi-faceted after-school program for young adolescents in which participants are engaged in activities that encourage the development of reading, writing and critical thinking skills.
Students participate in story analysis; musical and dramatic story interpretation and presentation; author visits, lectures and book signings; field trips and more. The program is implemented in Chicago Public Schools and community sites.
IPL's Open Book Program hasbeen marked by incredible growth on several fronts – more school participation, expanded programming, increased funding streams and a continued cultivation of relationships.
2006 provided a watershed moment for Open Book. The program published its first book, an anthology of original works written by Open Book youth entitled “See It Like Me!” Edited by Randall Horton and Annette E. Banks, the project gave youth the opportunity to become published authors and to see the publishing process from start to finish. It also provided the students an opportunity to express themselves through literary channels.
“Writing inspires me to let out how I feel,” said Beethoven Elementary student Bryanna Washington, whose poem “Healing Power” is included in the book, “It feels good to be published,” she said.
“See It Like Me!” is available for sale through the Institute for Positive Living.
In 2007, the Institute for Positive Living expanded its scope to include issues that impact the community. The organization developed conflict resolution and violence prevention workshops to address the escalation of violence in communities and schools. Students worked with facilitators to address root causes, brainstorm alternatives, discuss personal responsibility and plan for a positive future.
The Institute for Positive Living continues to enjoy funding through civic, corporate and philanthropic communities. The organization receives support from Federal, state and local governmental entities.
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