Live and Lead for Impact with Kirsten E. Ross

Khalil Thompson

Empowered Readers Literacy Project

Khalil is a husband, father of 2 girls and a serial Enabler of Good. He was born in Oakland, came of Age in New Orleans, and became an adult in Atlanta.

Khalis is on a mission to help families build strong reading rituals.  Not teach people to read, but grow people who are excited about reading.  Give parents the tools to build the fun of reading into daily life by providing fun activities and also access to diverse books.  They focus on families with children from birth through age 8.

Khalil’s daughter is the inspiration for his work.  She came home from kindergarten one day feeling very sad that some children couldn’t read.  She was heartbroken that some kids didn’t have access to quality books.  Khalil and his wife tried to explain that every family is different.  His daughter didn’t like this answer. 

When Khalil and his wife started researching the issue they learned that literacy was directly tied to stats for time in prison.  Two thirds of children who are not reading well by the third grade will end up on welfare or in jail.  And the school dropout rate is high.  And, that prisons actually plan for jail space based on the dropout rates for an area.

Now they too were inspired to do something about this issue!  And that’s how Empowered Reader’s was born.

They are now encouraging reading in 3 main ways:

Books on the Green – outdoor reading or theatre depicting stories.

Educate Parents about fun reading activities.  Help to create reading rituals before age 3.

Books for Kids through free neighborhood libraries, books into homes through pediatrician offices and also Books for Kids by Kids in the neighborhood.

Khalil shared that he had just taken the leap of faith by turning in notice with his employer so that he could fully focus on the nonprofit. 

His words of wisdom for others, “You can either let tough times box you in or be the wind that moves you.  Have a vision and you can get there.”

Direct download: Khali_Thompson_Interview.m4a
Category:leadership -- posted at: 3:00am EDT