Ms. Dawn Bush, “Birth 2 Five”
In her capacity as Coordinator of the Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) program at Casa Guadalupe in Allentown, Dawn is a change-agent in the community, explaining to parents why it is important to read aloud to children under the age of five. Dawn distributes more than 500 baby books each month to new families because she is passionate about helping WIC’s clients — 100% of whom have income levels below the federal poverty line — break the cycle of poverty through early literacy.
Mr. Arif Darmawan, “The World is Just a Book Away”
Arif is credited with helping promote literacy and education by developing 55 libraries with more than 42,000 books and programs that plant the seeds of leadership, environmental consciousness and community connection in East Java, Indonesia through the organization The World is Just a Book Away. These libraries impact 28,000 Indonesian schoolchildren. He is guided by the concept that you must empower children to change their own lives and communities through books and that education breaks the cycle of poverty, gives hope for a better future and promotes peace around the world.
Ms. Janet McIlhenny, “Lehigh Valley Head Trauma Support Book Group”
A brain trauma patient herself, Janet had to relearn how to walk, dress herself and read again. She was told that she may never read more than one word at a time, but she wasn’t ready to give up. Teaching herself to read became her main focus and books became her best friend. In 2013, Janet started the Lehigh Valley Head Trauma Book Group. Members say that attending the monthly meetings has changed their outlook on life — there is more interaction, more eye contact, more talking and most importantly, people are smiling. She says the family members are seeing a spark of the “old” husband/wife/friend and that this is more exciting than her years of teaching public school or college. Through these books, she is watching lives change.
Tiffany Mosqueda, “Harkins House Group Reading”
Tiffany is credited with revitalizing Harkins House school program, taking it from a standard credit recovery program to a fully integrated classroom by establishing a library and book club for adjudicated at-risk youth at Harkins House, a juvenile residential shelter in Oregon. She made reading fun for these youth, who commonly see school in a negative light and a place filled with people who have given up on them. Tiffany created the book club to give these young people an opportunity to discuss books of their choosing and issues reflecting aspects of their lives. These discussions allowed them to consider other ways they might have handled a difficult situation. Tiffany firmly believes that books change lives.