CLiF Note: Susan Elliot and our friends at P.E.O. International recently gave a presentation on CLiF’s work to their group and collected new books and donations for low-income, at-risk, and rural kids. Consider giving or hosting a CLiF team member to give a short presentation what CLiF makes possible for kids to your club or group. Your group can also run a book drive to give kids in need new books. Contact Erika Nichols-Frazer.

P.E.O. International is a women’s organization that is based on providing educational opportunities for women. The organization raises money to support women who might otherwise not be able to afford an education. It was founded in 1869 by six women who banded together to encourage education for women. They were passionate in their commitment to help women realize their potential through education.

As a member of the New London (NH) Chapter of P.E.O., I wanted to bring the mission of CLiF to the attention of the chapter and to initiate a program that would familiarize them with the amazing work that CLiF does throughout Vermont and New Hampshire.

I personally experienced several of Duncan’s programs. I was very impressed with Duncan as he read to the children. He made the story come alive and the children were enthralled. It was amazing to witness each of the children going home with two books. It made me feel joyful to see the excitement each child had as they clutched their brand new books. I have been an educator all of my professional career with a focus on literacy and the instruction of language arts. I know the impact that good literature can have with regard to motivating children to read. The possibility of inspiring a love of reading and maybe even a desire to know more and learn more is what makes the work that Duncan does so incredibly important. What I also loved was Duncan’s plan to work with parents in a workshop-type setting to teach them to think about the importance of books as well as the importance of reading to their children. Hopefully the magic of books and hearing stories will continue at home.

I also witnessed a poet that CLiF sponsored in a rural school community. There would be no other way to have this experience in this small school community without CLiF. This is just another of the wonderful programs sponsored by CLiF.

Believing passionately in the impact of literature and knowing the commitment P.E.O. has on improving the lives of others, I knew the members would be moved by CLiF and want to support it and they did. Each member brought in a brand new book. After the slide presentation, one member came up to me to write a check to add to the donations already given. She said, “Seeing what CLiF does, my one book doesn’t seem like enough.”

When children are exposed to books, worlds beyond their own open up. The relationship between parent and child, teacher and child when a story is read to them is a nurturing experience that can do much to deepen the connection between them. Both P.E.O. and CLiF share the same passion to improve the lives of others, one grant at a time for P.E.O. and one book at a time for CLiF! It was a match!

You can show this 6-minute video on CLiF to your group. We’re also happy to provide a slideshow and more information on our programs.

Susan Elliot was a public educator for 34 years in Connecticut. She taught children at all levels of elementary and middle school. As a language arts consultant for her district, Susan worked with children and teachers from kindergarten through high school focusing on the importance of teaching reading and writing with an emphasis on motivating children to love to read and to write. After leaving public education, she became a full-time professor at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut where she taught for thirteen years in the School of Education. Her focus there was to teach preservice teachers and graduate students how to demonstrate best practices in the teaching of language arts. 

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