"Reading for Life" Mentor Honored

March 01, 2011Bill Schmitt

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A mentor with the Reading for Life program supported by Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI) has received a 2011 Inspire Award from the statewide organization College Mentors for Kids. Bekki Fahrer, of Union, Michigan, was honored for the program that serves first-time offenders under the purview of the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center.
Reading for Life is a character education diversion program that focuses on virtue and promotes small-group discussions of contemporary novels with trained mentors. The goal is to encourage young people to make more prudent life choices. The program mentors first-time juvenile offenders through the Juvenile Justice Center’s probation department.
Reading for Life is supported by the Arête Foundation and is seeking to grow with help from additional funding sources.
“At a time when most of society throws away its delinquent youth, Bekki Fahrer steps in and says to those young people, ‘you matter…you can become a virtuous person,’” says Alesha Seroczynski, director of Reading for Life.
Seroczynski, an associate program director with the IEI, notes that Fahrer has become a highly successful mentor who helps to turn juveniles’ lives around—while also working and pursuing a university degree in her home state.
The Inspire Awards celebrate the efforts of individuals and organizations providing transformative mentoring in communities and workplaces around the state. The awards ceremony took place on Feb. 23, 2011, in Indianapolis, attended by more than 400 civic leaders. The subcommittee judging entries in Fahrer’s category was chaired by Isaac Randolph, Jr., executive director of the state’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.