Hey Chris! Tell us a little about yourself, what you do, and what Daddy Read a Book is all about.
Hi Brookelyn! First, thanks for taking time to talk with me and your readers about Daddy Read a Book. It is great to be on Best of BKLYN; I’ve been really excited for the past few weeks about being here.
Last year I founded Daddy Read a Book, a nonprofit organization based in Arizona. The purpose of Daddy Read a Book is to connect families who are facing separation. It was founded on a simple belief: parents reading to their kids forms an amazing connection in families and it is critical in a child’s mental development. We help make it easier for parents to read to their children in tough situations.
What's the main focus/goal of Daddy Read a Book?
Our focus is on families facing long periods of separation and our goal is to connecting them through reading. Here’s how we do it:
We meet with parents who will be away from their families and film them reading their children’s favorite storybooks in beautiful HD video with professional sound and lighting. Then we give a copy of that video to their children so it can be watched while the parent is gone.
One of the groups we can help the most is families with a parent in the military. Whether it’s through deployment or training, these parents are often gone for months at a time. We are also able to help parents or kids in the hospital for long-term treatments, or families with a parent in prison. Anywhere that a loving parent is separated for a time from their children, we can help.
What inspired you to start Daddy Read a Book?
This was something my dad did for me as a child. He was away from our family for almost a year when I was very young. To help make that time easier, he took my favorite children’s books and filmed himself reading them to me. I watched that video all the time when he was gone and was really able to feel like he was there. I could see his face on the screen and hear his voice and see him smile. It helped us stay connected through the tough time and have a strong relationship when he came home.
What is your dream for Daddy Read a Book?
There are two dreams for Daddy Read a Book and they fit together really well. First, I want daughters and sons to feel connected to and loved by their parents wherever they are. Second, I want to foster a love of reading and learning in children. If we can do both of those things well, then I think we will make a real difference.
My vision for the future of Daddy Read a Book is to be able to support parents reading to their children everywhere, not just in absences. We want to become an advocate for reading to children and help make that easy for parents.
How can Best of BKLYN readers support Daddy Read a Book? Are you looking for volunteers, funding, etc.?
Right now the best way to support Daddy Read a Book is to give. Just $100 gives a family a full video package. Your readers can give online and it takes less than three minutes. Of the public donations we receive, 100% goes to connecting families.
The other way to support us is tell people you know. We have a lot of resources available and would love to help. Posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest are great!
So, if I know someone in the military with kids, how can they get involved with Daddy Read a Book?
First, I would love to hear from you. If you know any families facing separation or a tough circumstance, let us know! All we need is their contact information and we will take it from there.
Right now, we’re only able to work with families or parents who are in Arizona. We have some big plans to expand, so please still tell us about the family. We’ll help in any way we can.
And, since this is a fashion blog: what three things do you think every guy needs in his closet?
Somehow I expected this question! You can’t go wrong with clean socks, clean underwear and clean t-shirts. But you may need to wear something more, so here’s what I would say:
1. A great oxford shirt
2. Dark blue broken-in jeans
3. Good, classic shoes
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Chris Cottrell is the founder and CEO of Daddy Read a Book and a consultant at Yodle, Inc. He and his wife Arielle live in Tempe, AZ. Connect with him at his blog or over Twitter, LinkedIn and email!