On March 2, 2021, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading partnered with Embracing Our Differences to celebrate Embracing Our Differences Reading Day. Thanks to the generosity of the Community Foundation of Sarasota, United Way Suncoast, and The Patterson Foundation, 8,100 children in Sarasota and Manatee counties received books for their home libraries. This year also marked the first time this partnership offered a family engagement event to coincide with Embracing Our Differences Reading Day. Families from Manatee and Sarasota counties joined the SCGLR and artist Cedric Hameed early Tuesday evening on Zoom for a fun and creative poetry experience.
The poems created by the participating families were incredible. Here is just a sample:
I hope you know that I know unconditional love because of you
I hope you know that I love you
I hope you know that you are powerful
I hope you dream because it matters
I hope you dream because you can do anything
I hope you dream because it is the seed that starts the journey
Hold on to yourself, hold on to strength, hold on to our family
The participants also created a word cloud at the conclusion of the event. Their choice of words indicates how meaningful the experience was for all of us.
“I loved tonight’s webinar. It was so family-oriented and brought my young family closer together in a memorable experience in an inclusive activity. We will definitely remember this forever.”
“My daughter’s reaction to my poem is forever ingrained in my heart and soul.”
“It was so beautiful to share our hopes as a family and to hear it mirrored with other families.”
The Patterson Foundation offered prizes for the schools that had the greatest number of participants at the Embracing Our Differences/Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Family Engagement Night.
Ashton’s Principal, Kristi Jarvis, responded to their win, “WhooHooo! Thank you for always offering so many great opportunities to our families. Your team is so creative and wonderful about thinking of the needs of our community.”