Last Monday, I had the chance to spend some time with April, her wonderful staff, and the children they teach and feed in Sharon, PA, at the New Light Christian Education Center. It was Mercer County Blind Association Vision Screening Day, the perfect day for me to visit with my children's book GRADY GETS GLASSES. Grady the 12" tall toy rabbit shook hands with all of the children, and Grady and I explained the importance of glasses in a PowerPoint before the reading of the book. The children reacted to Grady in a hugely positive manner- some even kissed the toy bunny right on his furry face! A tiny girl whispered "thank you" to me and planted a baby kiss on the back of my hand. Grady and I were quite overwhelmed with the feelings of love and caring in this school classroom.
I had the opportunity to spend a few quiet minutes with April and talk about her ministry. Besides being a Grant Writer/Researcher for the agency at Community Arts Experience, Inc; a Quality Assurance Administrator at Hope Academy for Autism, and the Co- Founder/Director at the Zion Center, she has also taken on the job of feeding the at-risk children of Farrell and Sharon, PA. April started the childcare program in 1995 and outgrew four locations before expanding to Sharon, PA, in 2010. New Light Missionary Baptist Church became her sponsor in 2012, and also offers recreational and nutritional services on site. Together, this partnership has reached hundreds of families in the Shenango Valley area, serving more than 150,000 children ages 3-18. The Center is open Monday-Friday from 8 am-7 pm, and breakfast, lunch, snacks, and supper are provided to all children, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation.
No one goes without food, love, and learning when Minister April Avery Torrence is around!
I love how being an author of a children's book has introduced me to so many wonderful people, all of whom want to make a difference in the world by making their piece of the planet just a little bit better. We are enveloped by inspiration! (For the record, that is what Grady and I want to do, too, and when we are successful, we will have the GRADY GETS GLASSES FOUNDATION.)
Thanks so much for a beautiful Monday with the kids, and for sharing your goodness and dreams with me, Minister April! I am so inspired by you that this post just seemed to write itself!
This post is published with the approval of Minister April Avery Torrence.
Do you want to contribute to this wonderful mission? Donations can be made directly to New Light M.B.C. (c/o Dr. April Torrence) 753 Cedar Avenue, Sharon, PA 16146. We also have a PayPal account for the Pre-K program and a GofundMe page for our capital campaign.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
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Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required reading.
Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics.
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired!
Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom. Check them out! http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . The website www.gradygetsglasses.com IS UP AND RUNNING!!!. Signed copies ARE available! Coloring books and Grady plush toys are ordered!
Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl
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