Born of Founder and Executive Director Jo Altilia’s commitment to social justice for at-risk pregnant and parenting moms, Literature for Life has been helping marginalized young moms develop a practice of reading since 2000. Literature for Life’s flagship Women with Words Reading Circles is the only direct service program of its kind in Canada.
Held at various partner shelters and youth and community centres in high-needs neighbourhoods across the GTA, young moms meet weekly to read and discuss novels with trained facilitators. The Reading Circles improve participants’ literacy and self-confidence, and encourage the pursuit of higher education and meaningful employment. The programs also work to support the role of a mother as a child’s first teacher, and show participants how to model a love of reading and learning in the home, and promote a family culture of academic achievement.