Monday, April 18, 2022

"Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story." Josh Shipp



I recently saw a story about a non profit in New Orleans that was really intriguing.  A man named Sonny Lee started his program SON OF A SAINT in 2011.  It is a mentorship program for young boys and teens who have no father figure in their lives.  Boys have lost their fathers for a variety of reasons:  long-term incarceration, deportation, violence, or even willful neglect.  Founder Sonny Lee knows what is like to grow up without a dad - Sonny watched his father die before him from a heart attack.  His dad was only 36, and Sonny was just 3 years old, and that terrible scene is his earliest memory.  Sonny honors his dad with the name of his charity. His dad played for the New Orleans Saints, hence, the name SON OF A SAINT. When he started high school at an all-male school, Sonny recognized the importance of good male role models, and he has tailored his programs accordingly. 

Sonny was raised by a strong mother, and he said his program to help turn fatherless boys into men is really his mother's program - he tries to do all the things for the boys that his mother did for him.  In the past 10 years, Son of a Saint has mentored 200 young men to make positive choices in their lives through mental health intiatives, recreation, and strong mentorship.  Many of the students have earned scholarships to college, and their success is a huge inspiration to the founder.  Helping boys to succeed is Sonny Lee's passion, and with a strong team around him, his group is having amazing successes. 

So many young people in our country are in great need of positive adult role models and adults who are engaged in their lives.  After reading all about the program, it seems to me that this model could be copied and could work all over our country. 

I applaud Sonny Lee and his non profit for the great work they are doing.  If you would like to see more about their work, please click on the link to their website and the link to a wonderful stroy about Sonny Lee and his group on THE TODAY SHOW.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestionsRittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite GRADY GETS GLASSES (and me) into your school, in person, or on Zoom. Email us at

I do college and university presentations for student teachers with my practical "Dede's Three C's for Classroom Success: Confidence, Communication, and Creativity" in person or via Zoom. Please email me at

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with groups called Field Trip Zoom and Streamable learning . We will come into YOUR classroom via ZOOM. GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone. Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.

Visit Dede's web page for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available 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! 

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  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
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