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Warriors Read...

In an era where we've begun to digest words in a format 140 character or fewer it's easy to move away from longer forms of written word. As a lover of words, books, and a writer myself this makes me a little sad. Reading is one of the single most important skills in developing a life long love of learning. Education doesn't end because school does. Our evolution, as human beings, dictates we thirst for knowledge. In my capacity as WWE ambassador I've found a perfect fit with First Book. Having the opportunity to host our second reading challenge at Harold Kellar Elementry was truly delightful. Before my life took the unexpected turn it did nearly four years ago, I was an educator. I worked in the schools my girls attended in both a volunteer and paid capacity. Reading was my focus for children struggling and I volunteered my time to help intervene early. Reading, to me, is the key to a success- filled education and early investment in a child's ability to thrive in this area is paramount. My parents advocated books in our home. My most influential role model, in my love of reading, was my Auntie Paula. Having contracted polio as a six month old baby her body bore the scars of the now mostly eradicated disease. She was spunky, sparkly, and to my mind magical. She was independent and the brightest mind I've ever met. Her body, however, did not keep time with her quick wit. This fact was not a disability in my mind; it was a gift of intimacy with a fairy queen. While everyone else was running around she and I would snuggle up in the garden with stacks and stacks of books. She read to me from every genre, classics and modern alike. At each visit she furthered my love of poetry introducing me to Whitman, Frost, and my favorite, Emily Dickinson. By the time Auntie Paula had to leave our home, to return home to her's, I had memorized another selection of poetry. All these many years later I can still recite many poems I learned, next to my Auntie, by heart. I am who I am today, a writer, because I read other writer's words and made them part of who I am. Other's words were the building blocks of the woman who stood strong when the world around crumpled. Literature cast characters for me to pull from to get me through, to hope, to fight, to persevere, to believe. What WWE is doing, in partnership with Firstbook, donating 20 thousand books to underserved children is the TRUE Main Event on the road to Wrestlemania, in my view. I have the chance to look in the eyes of children on the receiving end of this gift and see pure delight! I'll never forget last year in Orlando one little voice asking, "You mean these are ours to keep? Forever?". I believe in first books and Firstbook. I believe in community and the communities we serve. I believe writers need readers and readers need books. I believe real warriors READ...Always! xo📚d 

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