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A Mom on a Mission ...Brenna McGowan's Story

Categories: Featured, General, Parenting, Volunteerism

Brenna McGowan recently donated thousands of dollars to Learning Ally through a fundraising event that will support struggling readers in schools across the United States. On behalf of our entire staff, we thank Brenna for her generous support, amazing optimism, and passion for literacy. You have made such a difference!

Here is her story… 

Reading is a basic skill we must be good at to accomplish almost anything we set out to do.

My son Jack, who is now an adult, was one of those kids always behind in school. He couldn’t keep his head above water. Entering fourth grade his learning gap really widened. It was heartbreaking to watch him struggle. I cried many times thinking about all of his frustration over the years.

Jack never loved to read, so I would read with him every night. I was determined to help him, because I’ve always been an avid reader, and know how important reading is to our education and lifetime goals.

Jack continued to struggle, and a teacher encouraged us to get Jack tested for a learning disability. I also began to do some independent research as well, and learned about assistive technology and accommodations that would help children with reading challenges because when you get into fifth and sixth grade, reading with your mom is a torture for a kid!

That’s when I found Learning Ally. I talked with school administrators and teachers about human-read audiobooks and about the audiobook library filled with curriculum and literature. I’m proud to say that advocating for Jack, I opened up access for other kids like him.

Reading is Life

Jack is now an EMT and studying to become a firefighter. Had he not been able to access Learning Ally audiobooks for studying, he would never be able to pass his tests or achieve the goals that matter to him. This is the reason I continue to fundraise for Learning Ally today. I believe in the organization.

Nonprofits depend on members and advocates for literacy to support it. As I’m advocating, I’m talking with people who now have kids, or know of kids, who are struggling to read. I tell parents and colleagues about my story and encourage them to read to their children. I don't want any mom or child to go through what Jack and I did.

Most moms can't sit and read with their kids for 30 minutes to an hour every night to keep them up to speed. Life doesn’t spare us the time these days. I encourage every parent with a struggling learner to inquire about resources and support for their kids, and to be persistent.

Fundraiser Summit

I own a company where I help online businesses sell courses and services. I decided to plan online events where industry experts would speak on important topics.

These events are no cost, but attendees have the opportunity to upgrade to a VIP status for a minimal cost. This status gives them lifetime access to the interviews during the event , and all the proceeds are donated to Learning Ally.

The business event raised awareness of the importance of resources for struggling readers to people that otherwise may have known that there was a resource like it out in the world.

In addition to the audiobook solution, the organization offers a dyslexia screening tool, an early literacy program to ensure kids learn language-based skills that are essential for reading comprehension, and professional brain-based instructional courseware for PreK-6 to teach educators how to improve their instruction around the science of reading. That’s a lot of good stuff!

We all want children to succeed.

I will never forget what access to Learning Ally did for my son and our family. When I share my journey, many people want to be a part of the solution. Many people get involved with the event. Both speakers and the attendees, were thankful to be able to donate to such a worthy organization. We even had one attendee who used to volunteer for Learning Ally come in and share her to story about what it meant to her to be able to donate her time to such a worthy cause. Our country has millions of kids who struggle to read. If my donations can get Learning Ally into more schools and districts to support kids, that’s what I’m aiming for.

Become a Learning Ally Fundraiser

For every dollar donated to Learning Ally, about ninety cents goes directly to U.S. schools and districts for the support of students with reading challenges. You can make a BIG difference.

If you are interested in creating a fundraiser on behalf of Learning Ally, we thank you for your commitment and support. To help you get started, please visit this “design your own fundraiser” on our website. And, special thanks to Brenna McGowan!