Teaching Children The importance of Reading Through Plush Toys   - Good360

Teaching Children The importance of Reading Through Plush Toys  

Organization: Gail’s House Incorporated
Lives Impacted: 1500+
Website: http://www.GailsHouse.org    

Gail’s House Incorporated located in Palm Bay, FL promotes community strength and self-sufficiency by improving the quality of life for at-risk children and their families. Our mission is to engage, encourage, and inspire marginalized children via literacy, STEM, and healthy living habits. We created the Books n’ Book Buddies Program as a positive system to allow a sense of normalcy during a moment of chaos for children in need. Additionally, we also provide B n’ BB bundles to children in low income areas as a part of our organizations pro-literacy efforts. During moments of emergency, this seemingly simple gesture gives a sad or frightened child something of their very own to hold. They either draw comfort from their Buddy or offer comfort to their Buddy. It is stated that 26% of children who get a bedtime reading 3-4 times in a week by a family member recognizes all letters of the alphabet earlier, and tend to have stronger skills in school. 

We were able to pair a Lucky, Chance, Hope, or Dream plush animal with an age appropriate children’s book during our holiday giveaways. It has been especially beneficial for children of families that have experienced loss due to natural disasters, theft, fire, or domestic violence. We have used these donations to support 6 highly-effective programs in a variety of ways, but most importantly increasing the reading level for lower income children in their class. The Books n’ Book Buddies tours, which includes volunteers visiting hospitals, daycares, preschools, and after school programs. The Capes for Kids program, were volunteers gift children residing in homeless shelters with “superhero” capes and a B n’ BB bundle. The Emergency Preparedness program, providing emergency preparedness literature and B n’ BB bundles to children involved in a disaster. The Kindness Ambassadors program, that distributes B n’ BB bundles throughout the community as a random act of kindness, which encourages recipients to “pass it forward” to others in the area. The Community Events Program that encourages participating members in the community to hold events and distribute B n’ BB bundles. Lastly, the Holiday Giveaway Program, where every child that receives a gift, also receives a B n’ BB bundle.  

A story that has stuck with me to this day from all of our programs, is about a mother who missed the Holiday Giveaway, but insisted she still get a B n’ BB bundle because she had nothing to give to her children for the holidays. Christmas was the following Thursday, and she had nothing to give her 3 children ages, two, nine and eleven.  A couple of days after the event she managed to get all her children to our office, to explain why she couldn’t call ahead to reserve her items. She mentioned not owning a cellphone and that her landline was disconnected the previous week. She breathed a shaky sigh full of emotion and said, “I have been praying nonstop for the last four days. I finally stopped, because I realized that today is Christmas Eve, and nothing is going to happen for me this year”. The tears started streaming down my face, once she noticed the bicycles, Barbies, baby dolls, and Books n’ Book Buddies bundles that we gave to her children as she turned around. Stories like this are a reminder of why we commit to maintain our mission. Thank you  Good360 for helping us serve the children in our area during every season.

Shari Rudolph
Shari Rudolph
shari@good360.org

Shari Rudolph is Chief Marketing Officer of Good360 and is an accomplished retail, digital commerce and media executive with a strong track record of building audience, revenue and brands. Shari’s previous experience includes management consulting as well as various executive and leadership roles at both start-ups and large media and retail e-commerce companies in Southern California, New York and Silicon Valley. She is also an adjunct professor teaching classes in marketing, advertising and entrepreneurial studies and she earned her MBA from The Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA.