Jayne Reads, Starts Own Blog, Wows World!

08:27

Follow Jayne Bonilla, author of Shirt for Dessert, WEbook’s first published children’s book, on her new blog. On it, she’ll be detailing her merry march of readings and promotion in the greater Miami area.


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It all began a few weeks ago when I ran into a friend, Glenda Abbate, in the grocery store while signing copies of my book. Now, as I drove to the Jack & Jill Children’s Center to read to 156 pre-schoolers, I felt the momentum coming to a crescendo.

Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend like Glenda. She’s passionate about everything she does and is probably the most generous person I know. So when she asked if I wanted read Shirt for Dessert to the kids at Jack & Jill Children’s Center, I agreed immediately. “They will love your book and you will love them,” Glenda exclaimed, then insisted on buying each child their very own copy!

After I arrived, Jack & Jill’s executive director, Shannon Prohazska, gave me the grand tour. I felt like an invited relative in the home of a large progressive family. At Jack & Jill’s, a pre-school/nursery for kids with mostly single mothers, children are rewarded with chores. Yes chores! Since chores demonstrate leadership and responsibility, they are correlated with pride and success. Mealtime is eaten “family style,” with children serving one another and establishing manners and practices that emulate real-life situations.  The staff, faculty, parents and children all seemed connected to a, unanimous purpose at the center – to prepare the children intellectually, emotionally, and socially while honoring their individuality. Additionally, the center is consistently plugged into the needs of parents, as keeping their batteries charged is a means to transfer positive energy to their children. Jack & Jill refers to this as the “wrap-around” philosophy, which focuses on strengthening and supporting the entire family unit.
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The success of this philosophy became evident when I finally got to meet the children. They were eager to listen and displayed excellent manners. They were also attentive and engaged as I read. Glenda was right of course: I did fall in love with each of them. If somehow I could record their giggles, I would play it for the world to hear. And if I could package up their hugs and dispense them with the sincerity and love in which they were given, violence would cease.

After it was over, I felt myself lingering after the children went back to their classrooms. The vibe of the kids remained in the air. The future felt very bright. As I made my way to the lobby to head home, I was thanked profusely for my visit. But it should’ve been me thanking them – for Glenda’s generosity, the amazing work being done by Shannon Prohazkska and her staff at Jack & Jill’s, and the amazing children. But the greatest gift by far was from the 156 kids who permanently penned their signatures on my heart. 

--Jayne Bonilla

Check out Jayne's new blog

Learn more about Jack & Jill’s Children’s Center

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