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Praxis Sites for Unsettling Literacy

Anne Dalke's picture
Praxis Sites for "Unsettling Literacy,"
two linked courses offered @
Bryn Mawr College, Spring 2017

Each student will select one praxis site, and make a commitment to weekly work there.

In early in December, 2016, we plan to contact everyone who pre-registers,
in order to find out your preference, and confirm your availability, for a praxis site.

You will have three options; all travel costs will be covered by the Praxis program.

Books Through Bars, 4722 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143
This is an all-volunteer nonprofit, headquartered in the A-Space in West Philadelphia. It is formally organized as a collective (a core group of members make decisions about the organization and its activities on a consensus-driven, egalitarian basis). On Tuesday nights, 7:30-9:30, and on occasional Saturdays, 11-2, you will read travel to the A-Space, where you will join other volunteers in reading letters from incarcerated people, selecting books, and sending out packages.  To get there, you will take the Paoli-Local from the Bryn Mawr train station, to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, then make a 1-minute walk to the 30th Street Trolley Station, where you will take the #34 Trolley to 47th and Baltimore Avenue. The commute will take approximately 45 minutes.

Riverside Correctional Facility, 8151 State Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19136
On Friday afternoons, you will join Jody and Anne in participating in and co-facilitating a reading and writing course in a Philadelphia County prison for women. Our purpose is to build a shared learning community, and to inquire into the construction of knowledge and power from/across our different locations.  We will select texts from a range of genres – including a novel and selections of memoir, drama, poetry, and journalism – to read and discuss with students who are incarcerated.  We will also write and share our own texts.  College students will do some co-designing and facilitation of classes. We will rent a van, which will leave from Pem Arch @ noon. The ride is about 45 minutes; you will return to campus by 4 p.m.

Youth, Art and Self-Empowerment Project (YASP), 2231 North Broad St., Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19132

The Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project (YASP) is a youth-led organization that works to support and empower young people who are tried and incarcerated as adults in Philadelphia. We offer weekly art, poetry, and empowerment workshops in the Philadelphia adult jails, provide court and reentry support to our members, facilitate workshops in schools around the city, and are leading a campaign to end the practice of trying young people as adults in Pennsylvania.

In this field placement, you will have an opportunity to support YASP staff in all of this work. Responsibilities will depend on your interests, but may include helping facilitate workshops, researching new funding possibilities, helping organize events, assisting with outreach and canvassing in Montgomery County and Philadelphia, and expanding our reentry resources.

Due to our limited office hours, placement hours will have to be during the day on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.  You are likely to be walking .3 miles to the Bryn Mawr train station, taking the Paoli/Thorndale line for 21 minutes. Remaining in the same vehicle, you'll continue on Lansdale/Doylestown line for another 14 minutes, disembark at the Temple University Station, then walk 0.7 miles to the office.

 [no longer an option for this class:]

In His Eyes Outreach," 329 East Main Street, Norristown, PA 19401

In His Eyes Outreach works to support and educate women and men coming out of prison. It  works as an advocate to bridge the gap between inside the prison and home and guides  reentering men and women to the proper resources that will enable them a smoother transition back into the community. Some of the services provided are:

  • Career Training
  • Paperwork Assistance
  • Court Room Advocacy
  • Recovery Support Groups
  • Education Planning
  • Life Skill Training
  • Parenting Classes
  • Interview Training
  • Resume Workshops
  • Housing Assistance

Field Placement Description:

Students will work with people who have been incarcerated on various dimensions of the re-entry process. Hours will depend on which programs are being offered. You are likely to be walking 1 mile to the Roberts Road Station, taking the Norristown High Speed Line for a 14-minute non-stop ride, disembarking @ the Norristown Transportation Center, then walking .4 mi to the office.