Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Samantha Black's Appeal Letter on Behalf of Li, Li, Li! Read

Dear Friends,

If you are receiving this mass email you know it is historic.  I don't send out mass communications ever except for work of course!   I have a wonderful thing to tell you about and a favor to ask you.  Amelia Burgess has written you about the benefit for Li Li Li, an amazing organization started by our incredible friend, Michelle Karshan.  Amelia is a board member as well as a huge supporter of the organization.  Let me tell you a bit about why the organization has moved me to not only become involved but to truly believe in their mission and purpose.  In a nutshell, Li Li Li is about putting Haiti back to work several meaningful jobs at a time while inspiring the imaginations of the most vulnerable -- the children living in tent camps all over Haiti. 

Officially,  Li, Li, Li! (which means Read, Read, Read! in Haitian Creole) is a storybook reading out loud program in Creole for Haiti's children who became homeless or displaced because of the catastrophic January 12, 2010 earthquake. Founded in February 2010, Li, Li, Li! is based in Haiti and has been reading in the camps since April 2010. Li, Li, Li! Read, Inc. is a not-for-profit program registered in the State of New York.

Li, Li, Li! provides an engaging, interactive, and fun hour-long activity for children displaced by the earthquake that addresses the trauma and anxiety children are suffering, encourages literacy, creates a model for parents to read to their children, reinforces Creole, and contributes to job creation. (Plus, it gives crucial time to parents who need a break from cramped quarters with their kids and we all know how important that is for parental sanity.)

In addition to reading books written in Creole, Li, Li, Li! translates other language storybooks into Creole and often uses puppets and dolls to animate the stories as well.

Personally, I think Edwidge Danticat who is reading at Saturday's benefit says it best when she asked the readers why they read.  "In the midst of such sadness and turmoil, why read to displaced children who live in tents and fear the rain, like the passionate Haitian readers of the Port-au-Prince-based Li, Li, Li! (Read, Read, Read!) program do every week?

"We read to these children for the same reason people read to all other children," the readers say. "We read to them to help them grow their imaginations, to teach them about the world around them. And beyond them. We also read to them to learn from them."

So here is the favor part.  Will you consider coming to the Li Li Li Reading/Benefit Cocktail Party with celebrated author Edwidge Danticat this Saturday in Brooklyn?  All details are on the home page of the website and if you can't make the reading, despite the fact that Sabrina and I will be there with other friends, ... will you consider giving a donation.  Every donation goes to supporting this amazing program and to creating desperately needed jobs in Haiti.  We all know what an important place in our education reading aloud had not to mention what a magical space it created.  Our parents gave us this joyous gift of reading and encouraging our imaginations.  Will you pass that wonderful advantage on by contributing to this fantastic organization?  Hit the donate button on the website above and I will be eternally grateful for your support of this cause.

Thanks a million for reading this and for being the wonderful supportive friends you are.

Samantha Black

New York, New York

Please feel free to pass this along to other friends all are welcome at the Benefit and donations are always needed.  This is a very grassroots organization.