Dr. Shirley Johnson, in her words, is an educator to the depths of her soul.
Over the last 40 years, she has been a teacher, administrator, union leader, curriculum supervisor and an education advocate. Most recently, she opened The Resource Room, an afterschool education program for children ages five to 11 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
She is also a long-standing NAACP member and Regional Chair with a long history and deep family roots in the Civil Rights Movement.
Recently, with support from the General Motors Foundation, First Book partnered with NAACP to launch the new national NAACP Reads initiative. The initiative kicked off with an initial distribution of 900 copies of Child of the Civil Rights Movement. Regional Chairs were challenged to read the book to at least 10 children.
Dr. Johnson took the challenge to heart and started by reading the book to the 32 students at one of The Resource Room’s locations. She has since shared the book, and the joy of reading, with many more children.
I have never seen children who are so hungry for knowledge.
In the middle of my reading of the book, I told the boys and girls that time was up and we would continue the next day. I was met with the response of the children chanting ‘One more page! One more page!’” she says, “They loved the book so much, just as they love every book. All the children in that location can now read fluently.”
First Book is proud to partner with the GM Foundation. Together, the GM Foundation and First Book have provided 5,000 books to children in need through the national NAACP Reads initiative, 100 Black Men, the National Urban League, CNC, and MANA, A National Latina Organization.