By Jill Fox
After volunteering in an underprivileged Fort Lauderdale preschool, two Coral Springs sisters decided they wanted to spread the gift of reading to those less fortunate.
Over the years, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Ella 16, and Lily, 14, have had the opportunity to volunteer with their mother, Kim. According to Ella, her mother works with the most vulnerable preschool-aged children in the county in the Early Childhood Department at Broward County Public School.
When Kim mentioned how most of the children do not receive any presents on their birthdays, her daughters decided they were going to make that happen.
“A lot of kids in this area don’t receive any recognition on their birthday and we wanted to change that,” said Lily, adding that spreading the gift of reading was their main goal.
The girls grew up always feeling special on their own birthdays, with a love of reading which was their motivation in launching their organization, Birthdays and Books. Ella said her favorite book as a child was A Bad Case of Stripes, while Lily’s was If you give a moose a muffin…
The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Their mother Kim has instilled in her daughters a love for helping others. Last year, she along with Stacie Boyar of Parkland, wanted to do something to address the needs of teachers and MSD staff after the school shooting with their project ARMing Teachers with Love. They raised funds and distributed tote bags filled with thank you notes, assorted gift cards, stationery, school supplies, along with other items of appreciation. Prior to this, Ella and Kim worked hard to help archive precious mementos from the temporary memorial at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
After creating an Amazon Wish list to supply gifts to two classes at Martin Luther King Preschool, the sisters personally wrapped each item and donated the toys and books to the school to be presented to the students on their birthdays.
“We chose books in addition to toys so children can create the memories of reading with their parents at home,” said Ella.
The feedback from the teachers at Martin Luther King Preschool has been extremely positive, and the girls would love to have more supporters to help as many classes and families as possible.
Up next, the Singer sisters plan to support Gulfstream Early Learning Center in 2020, as well as approach local businesses for sponsorships. So far, their donations have come from family and friends, but they have recently created a social media platform, and a Plumfund, to help supplement the costs of wrapping paper and books, in addition to the Amazon Wish list.
After high school, both girls plan to attend college where Ella wants to work with animals, and Lily is interested in film school. But right now, they have one common goal — to gain more supporters for their cause.
- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co., a leading full-service public relations firm. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.