Being an author and teaching artist has in turn taught me so much. Most enlightening has been learning about the many outstanding grant-based and donor-funded programs available to South Florida parents and their children. Because of these programs, many parents have affordable and often free before and after care options, so they can work to support their families financially. And there’s so much more to these wonderful programs, including dedicated staff members.

Kids in Distress was created to for “the prevention of child abuse, preservation of the family, and the treatment of abused and neglected children.” Since 1979, the Broward chapter has been educating children through their preschools, aftercare program and day camps. They support families with numerous programs such as adoption, foster care, recovery services, and health and counseling services. The Children’s Services Council of Broward is at the forefront of this agency’s funding.

I was thrilled to be invited to present my literacy program to 75 students who participate in the MOST Aftercare Program, under the direction of Kevin Bochenek. These kids were curious, eager to learn and asked me more questions than I’ve ever been asked before. By the end of the author visit, they had a new appreciation for the biodiversity of the rainforest and seemed excited about reading more about it on their own.

DSC_0015Learning about the many animals species of the rain forest is so exciting!

DSC_0008We learned about the importance of geography literacy and reading maps.

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One five-year-old boy knew how birds are responsible for planting so many trees (Yes, they poop out the seeds!)

DSC_0023Any and every child who has the privilege of learning with MOST Director Kevin Bochenek is lucky indeed. Kevin has been a dedicated child advocate for more than 25 years, and he’s so kind and caring with the children.

DSC_0002I love seeing art projects made by the children, and this beautiful facility has them decorating their bright walls.

DSC_0004The charming children’s library offers kids a wide variety or reading and learning options.

I want to thank Kevin from Kids in Distress for inviting me to present Lilly Badilly and all the children for making my day so bright. Keep reading and learning!

Readers, to contact Kids in Distress, click here. For more information about foster parenting, volunteering or mentoring, click here.

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