On Wednesday, August 12th, we had the incredible opportunity to meet leaders working with at-risk youth from all over the world and to share with them our books. Through a program called the International Visitors Leadership Program (#IVLP) which is run by the State Department and administered by local partner, Meridian International Center, we met with folks from: Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Congo, Egypt, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ukraine. (!)
We are so proud of Shout Mouse authors, Litzi and Darne'sha, for being true ambassadors -- for Shout Mouse, for Reach, Inc., for Ballou Senior High School, and for our country. They did an amazing job.
"Reach made me feel like I had a family. Shout Mouse made me feel like I had a voice." -- Litzi, Reach tutor and Shout Mouse author
In front of a packed room of international leaders, Litzi told a story of how she was quiet as a little girl. She did not speak at all unless spoken to. Now here she is talking to a delegation of folks from around the world.
Litzi shared that Reach Incorporated made her feel like she had a family, and Shout Mouse made her feel like she had a voice. When asked why she writes, she says that she thinks of the other little girls out there like her who don’t realize they have a powerful voice inside them, that they have something to say. She writes so that they can understand that if she can do it, they can do it, too.
Darne'sha spoke about the experience of having her memoirs published as part of the Ballou Story Project. She read aloud from her piece, "I'm The Girl," from Our Lives Matter.
There was so much enthusiasm and energy and JOY in the room at the prospect of celebrating the voices that too often go unheard in countries around the world.
Stay tuned for photos and book reviews from readers around the world. One educator from the Democratic Republic of Congo told us, "I am starting a school in my home country. And I would be honored for your books to be the first books in our library."
There's more to come, folks. Much, much more.