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While competing in the service-oriented Miss America Organization, contestants are required to select a cause as their official “platform” and volunteer an arbitrary amount of time to developing their philanthropic endeavors. As a former pre-school teacher and interminable Dr. Seuss advocate, my platform naturally became Hooked on Books: Promoting EarlyChildhood Literacy. You can read more about my Mission Statement here. Although I no longer compete in the MAO, the passion for my platform lives on, and I continue to sit on two boards for the International Reading Association, conduct semiannual fundraising events, and—my favorite—hang out and read stories to preschoolers.
Hooked on Books works to provide new and gently-used books to children across the state of Florida, as well as in highly illiterate regions of Africa, where even adult illiteracy rates are upwards of 70%. Every year, I try and conduct at least two book drives, and with the support of my family, friends, and fellow literacy advocates, I’ve collected over 2,500 books for children in need.
This holiday season, we’ve decided to work with First Book Orlando to conduct our first ever virtual holiday book drive. Donations starting at as little as $1 can be made to the link above, and for every $25, 10 new books will be distributed to introduce the joy of reading to an underprivileged first-time reader. The “virtual” aspect facilitates a quick, easy, and unencumbered donation process, which directly impacts areas where the need for literature is greatest.
Please donate if you can! If not, kindly forward this along to anybody who may be able to help. As Dr. Seuss said, “The more things you read, the more things you know. The more things you know, the more places you’ll go!” Help children find that passion for literature. Readers are leaders!
What is your “platform” this holiday season? How do you give back to the community?