In addition to her role as “Cause Cultivator,” Christine Guardia has been the right arm and left brain of the KooDooZ team. I have been impressed with her work, passion and dedication for youth and cause marketing.

Prior to graduate school, she worked as a government consultant for 12 years, holding the positions of Business Analyst, Training Manager & Communication Lead. Christine earned her MBA in public / nonprofit management & marketing. During her graduate studies she assisted family & youth focused organizations including BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), BOSTnet (Build the Out-of-School Time Network), and the Guidance Center. Perhaps most poignantly, she had the opportunity to work on JumpStart’s “Read for the Record” – a cause marketing campaign developed to raise awareness & funding for early childhood education. Her first blog entry is focused on “Reading With Children”

On October 2nd, hundreds of thousands of children will read the children’s classic book Corduroy to break a world record as part of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, a campaign to raise awareness of and funding for early childhood literacy programs.

Working on the campaign for two summers taught me that there is more to reading with a child than simply saying the printed words aloud. When reading a book with my two year old nephew, I ask him to name colors and shapes he sees on the pages, as well as questions about the characters in the book. My four year old nephew and I count items on the page together and talk about the story. For example, last year’s campaign book was The Story of Ferdinand, in which a bull is stung by a bee. My nephew had been stung by a bee for the first time a few weeks before we read the book and he explained to me how much it hurt when we got to that part of the story. He was able to connect the story to his personal experience and now every time we read the book, he exclaims “Ouch!” when the bull accidentally sits on the bee.

I cherish these shared moments and love how my nephews will often put down their toys to pick up books instead. My nephews are fortunate to have many books around their house, but not all children have age-appropriate books at home. A California State University study found that, on average, children in low-income communities have two age-appropriate books in their homes while children in middle-income communities have 54 age-appropriate books in their homes (Jeff McQuillan, The Literacy Crisis, 1998). Furthermore, children from low-income communities enter kindergarten with a quarter of the vocabulary of children from middle-income communities.

By participating in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record on Thursday, October 2nd, you can share the joy of reading with a child in your life, as well as help Jumpstart put age-appropriate books into the homes of the children who need them the most.

There are many ways you can participate in the campaign, including:
· Registering to read
· Buying a special edition of Corduroy
· Building or finding an event in your community

To learn more, please visit http://www.readfortherecord.org/.

Christine’s 15 years of for-profit and non-profit cause marketing and branding experience have allowed her to quickly add value to the KooDooZ community.

If you are a brand looking to impact kids in a meaningful way, contact Christine: cguardia@KooDooZ.com

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