Hi, it's Ainsley Shepherd introducing myself, and continuing on with Emma's story about 'why' I picked up the phone and called her.
As a writer of children's stories myself, I'd first heard about Child Writes when I was considering attending the CYA Conference, and Emma's profile was listed due to her being a presenter at the event. I immediately thought that the concept of teaching children to write and illustrate their own children's books was amazing and I wanted to see the program in every school in Australia! With my work role in regional community development, I could see the possibility of bringing the program to a local school as a personal development and self esteem building tool. The thought was exciting!
Yet, the real kicker came when I saw a simple sentence on the homepage of the Child Writes website, where Emma had said 'Child Writes is a not-for-profit (soon to be a little-bit-for profit) project...' The 'little-bit-for-profit' phrase triggered my entrepreneurial perspective and I immediately starting thinking of how the program could be replicated and expanded. Obviously the not-for-profit worked fine for Emma over the years since she began teaching it, as her motivation was always her passion for giving children a voice, and for children's literature. Yet, there is a limit to the number of schools and the geographic area in which one woman can make an impact. By turning Child Writes into an enterprise, it would make it possible to expand the program across the region, state and nation! I was all ideas!
And thus, the phone call transpired, we realised we had the passion to build this concept together, and the rest is history...
The first pilot program for Child Writes is being conducted in the rural community of Eidsvold, Queensland. We are excitedly waiting to see the smiles on the student's faces at their book launch, when they realise the magnitude of what they have accomplished. We've also worked together to create a book - Child Writes: Creating a Children's Picture Book is Child's Play (more information about that coming soon...), to help train those who want to teach the Child Writes program, or for those who desire to create a children's picture book of their own (whether commercially or as a memoir).
I'm excited about the possibilities for giving children a voice, around this nation. If this excites you too, why don't YOU pick up the phone and give us a call?