I have always loved the smell of a bright new morning. I grew up in Birmingham Alabama, where the summers were just hot. The sunlight would burst through the curtains momma made and wake me every morning. In the air was the sweet smell of honeysuckle which grew underneath my window. Sometimes, when we were favored with a night breeze, I would lie in bed with my eyes closed with that scent flowing into the darkened room. I imagined myself far away from the southern heat of summer. Flying a jet plane or saving a life in the operating room. I would fly through the galaxy perhaps even discovering a brand new star or solar system. I would see myself living in Europe and speaking French on the Champ-Elysees while shopping in the most prestigious shops. I really enjoyed my tour of the Castle Neuschwanstein near Munich. My dreams were limitless. Not because I was special. I didn’t feel special. As a matter of fact in my home I was invisible. I come from the era of “children are to be seen and not heard.” That was practiced well in my family. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents for all they did for me and my sisters. However, they never engaged the village for help. They were proud African Americans who wanted to do things on their own. They lived the life they were taught.
I have always been an extravert and I am sure my mother had no clue what to do with me and all that energy. So, she sent me to the library! There I fell in love with books because it was through books that I could travel anyplace I wanted and be anything I wanted to be. One of my favorite books is the Bible. Imagine a little child of 6 sitting on the carpet reading a huge edition of the Bible. I found the stories in the Bible more interesting and very relative. God spoke to me through his word and I knew at an early age that I was special to Him. I wrote God letters which developed into journals that I still have today. I grew up with God.
Imagine now those children who did not. Imagine further being a child who doesn’t dream of the future because they are struggling with their present. I believe that every child has a story. I don’t know what I would have done if I did not have God to help write my story. I have a grandson whose name is Benjamin. Through the eyes of that precious little child I realized what God wanted me to do. I write children stories. Not just any story. My stories are written to demonstrate the character of the child. They show where the child wants to be in the future and all the things, people and places the child loves. Actually, it was more like an assignment. I believe God has gifted me with the ability to not only write a story but help children discover their story.
God moved me to Madison Alabama a few years ago. I am devoted to my assignment. I contacted the non-profit organization, Village of Promise and asked to volunteer. Actually, what I said was, “God sent me here to volunteer doing whatever you need me to do, but I really would like to work with children and write stories." Gloria Batts, co-founder of The Village of Promise chatted with me for a bit before she introduced me to Linda Riley, professional storyteller. Bam! God had moved three women together for a purpose and a journey that was simply awesome. The Children/Parent Writing Camp- 2012 developed from that first meeting and produced amazing stories from 10 young elementary school authors. I am so proud of the work they all produced during the two week camp. I implemented a spring and summer session for children ages 7 and up. Both Sessions were AWESOME! We developed 15 new authors!
The way I see it, my program Every Child Has A Story is a place in which self-esteem is enhanced through writing and creativity. I believe that no child should ever grow up dreamless, hopeless or limited. Children should always have a voice and a vision for their future. Children that know God understand how special they are and strive to be great people and do great things. With that kind of love and support these children can move mountains! I am a permanent part of the proverbial village needed to raise a child. I have been assigned by God to ensure every child in my village has the chance to dream, imagine, plan, enjoy and tell their stories.
Since I started this journey, I have retired a full time job, created a successful organization, created more programs, written more than fifteen children books and published four books on Amazon. It is a journey that has become a walk of joy, love gratitude and God’s amazing grace, and I am loving every step of the way!