Have you ever seen a child’s face light up when they are excited about something? It’s pure and genuine. Imagine that “something” is an item that most of us take for granted. Something that is so simple, yet so powerful.
A new book.
Opening the cover is like opening the door to a new world. It’s full of possibility and wonder. It removes you from where you are sitting and takes you on untold adventures. It sparks the imagination and ignites a flame that will burn brightly throughout a lifetime.
But, for children living in poverty, books are scarce. In some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the United States, there is only one book available to every 300 children. This lack of access becomes the foundation of illiteracy – of which grows poor education, employment and health. This makes the dream of pulling out of poverty an impossible feat. Instead, what breeds is a likelihood of criminal and anti-social behavior that affects all of us.
As an ambassador and advisory board member for First Book, I will continue to provide hundreds of brand new books to children in low income areas and educate parents on the lasting effects of early childhood literacy.
First Book is an international non-profit organization that addresses one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. At First Book, we have distributed over 125 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities that include soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
The groundbreaking “30 Million Word Gap by age 3” study brought to attention the unprecedented findings that indicated the extraordinary disparities between the number of words spoken in the home and the lasting effects on a child’s performance throughout their entire life. The results of the study dramatically outline the reality that homelife holds the key to early childhood success. With the development of my smart phone app, I have been able to educate parents on the importance of early literacy through age specific milestones, activities and recommended readings.
Mascots are one of the most effective advertising tools. For years, mascots have been able to help children learn about even the most serious subjects, like forest fires (Smokey the Bear), because kids relate to simple characters. Through the launch of my “Read with Reada the Frog” campaign, I have been able to build excitement and brand my platform with the children and parents I reach. Reada is cute, friendly and appeals to my target market. She is fantastic in helping carry out my two missions.
Mrs. Minnesota International 2015