Top (Rising) Readers 2016: Student Field Trip

Everglades City School

Thank you again for the incredible field trip on May 9th!  The shopping day at Barnes & Noble and lunch was an experience our students will never forget!  It was the first time several of our students have ever been in a bookstore and purchased new books!  Wow, I was brought to tears when one of the students used her funds to purchase books for her siblings!  Thank you for making that event possible! — Melissa Owen, Media Specialist

1 EVG BN Fave Group on Stage

Everglades City School’s Top Readers of all ages show the books they selected during their commemorative field trip honoring their reading achievements. K is for Kids was thrilled to have teens included this year! Front Row:  M. O’Connell (EVG Teacher Assistant), Miranda O., Nora P., Dalton L. and  Jessica C. Middle row:  Karen Clawson, K is for Kids founder and E.D.; Melissa Owen, Media Specialist), Daneli C., Amelia P., Reyvan C., Taylor D., Stephani P., Faith B., Tori W. and Jessica Olsen, Barnes & Noble Business Communiy Relations Manager; Top row:  Daniel G., Savannah H., Claybrook S., Brandy B., Levi J., and NaNa M.


EVG 1st grade students celebrate their reading achievements at school!

EVG First Graders with books from K is for Kids Rising Readers program 2016

Celebrating Readers and Earning Book Awards: Everglades City School’s First Grade Class!

 We are so thankful for these new books to offer the students.  They enable us the ability to provide much needed rewards and great summer reading for our students!

Thank you so much K is for Kids and all its’ sponsors for making this possible at EVG!


Everglades City School is very thankful for the support of K is for Kids.  Their support directly affects our literacy program in the Media Center.

One of EVG’s supplemental literacy programs is the Scholastic Reading Program.  EVG’s Media Specialist sets individual student and class goals for EVG!

The students and classes are given quarterly reading goals. In addition, to the homemade Reading Team shirts [given to] the students as they meet their individual goals, the new books and Rising Reader field trip are the primary rewards for our students.   EVG has been a Title One school and funds for incentives are extremely low.  The K is for Kids books and Rising Reader grant enables EVG to celebrate the students’ incredible literacy advancement! 

This year, we are thrilled by the continued Scholastic Reading Counts program growth.  Mrs. Owen documents the advancement each week when she meets with the students using the Reading Counts Program data of points earned and total words read!  We are very proud that this year EVG has reached the highest total words read count ever!  EVG will celebrate reaching 23,335,470 total words read this year!

That is a jump of over three million total words read from last year!

The students who actively earned Reading Counts points to make this [record] possible will be rewarded with the new books provided by K is for Kids.  Please see the attached photo of our first grade students with their new books!  We are so thankful for these new books to offer the students.  They enable us the ability to provide much needed rewards and great summer reading for our students!

Thank you so much K is for Kids and all its’ sponsors for making this possible at EVG!



What are the best things about K is for Kids?

Just ask the kids!

Here is what our student leaders said at our Top Leaders Meetings this year during a fun stickie note exercise with business consultant Mina Merkel.

Top Leaders Meeting - 2 12-12-15

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2015 Top Leaders Meeting - Participants Sticker Up

At K is for Kids’ Top Leaders Meeting in Dec. 2015, participants sticker up with adult mentors.

See more at: http://www.kisforkids.org/news/2015-top-leaders-meeting-students-leaders-meet-adult-mentors-in-strategic-planning-session/

2015 Top Leaders Meeting All students attending.

Participants of the Top Leaders Meeting 2015: Adult mentors Vin Izzi, President of Izzi Business Consulting; Karen D. Clawson, K is for Kids Founder and volunteer Executive Director; Nedgie Paul, a sophomore attending Florida State University and K is for Kids College Student Advisory Council member; Daylin Baez, a senior student at Lorenzo Walker Technical High School and member of K is for Kids top student leadership council, DOSA (Directorate of Student Agenda); Jake LaRochelle, a senior at Barron Collier High and member of DOSA; Gabriella Manuszak, a senior at Barron Collier High and member of DOSA ; Mina Merkel, business consultant; Sara Saintil, a junior student at Lely High School and DOSA member; Bree Gelin, a junior student at Lely High School and DOSA member; Vendredi Carter, a senior student at Lorenzo Walker Technical High School and intern for K is for Kids; and Krisha Mak, a senior at Lorenzo Walker Technical High and DOSA member. Not shown: Mentor Gene Landrum, PhD., author, entrepreneur, creator of Chuck E. Cheese, Professor Emeritus of Hodges University, and K is for Kids director. Photograph by mentor Kelly Wilson, business teacher at Barron Collier High School and education partner for K is for Kids. – See more at: http://www.kisforkids.org/news/2015-top-leaders-meeting-students-leaders-meet-adult-mentors-in-strategic-planning-session/#sthash.sTOPWW1w.dpuf


Nedgie Paul writes about her experience with K is for Kids.

TeenFashionShow_JonathanBogue-FGCU_NedgiePaul-PRH_byMKBernard-THUMBNOTE: Nedgie Paul, shown at left at her favorite event, the annual K is for Kids’ Teen Fashion Show and also above, third from left, served as the foundation’s senior student spokesperson 2014-15. Nedgie was named the Graduate of Distinction Class of 2015 of Palmetto Ridge High School. She is now a freshman of Florida State University. Nedgie continues serves as a student spokesperson and College Student Advisor for K is for Kids.

On Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 8:40 PM, Nedgie Paul wrote:

     My work with the K is for Kids Foundation is one of my proudest accomplishments. When I began volunteering with the organization in my junior year I was very shy and introverted and I struggled to speak publicly. However, over time, with guidance and mentoring I escaped my comfort zone and flourished beyond belief. Not only did I gain confidence but I saw myself in a different light and I was amazed at my own capabilities. As I was given more prominent roles, I truly discovered my leadership potential and the influence I had on others. The impact of K is For Kids in my community has further fueled my drive for success. Now, I can clearly see the abundance of opportunities I have in store for me. K is for Kids has created the foundation for my future endeavors
 and I am so grateful. 

[Editor: We think the reader will agree that Nedgie’s long list of accomplishments for the foundation is remarkable for a volunteer of any age and reveals how this remarkable young woman left a legacy behind in her community before she even graduated from high school.]

I have served as the youth leader and spokesperson for the K is for Kids Foundation, responsible for the mission and activities of all youth volunteers. I help plan, promote, organize, advertise, and run fundraisers for the charity. I am a co-chair for the From the Heart Teen Fashion Show, and other charity events (2013-2015).  I also intern in business administration and communications for the K is for Kids Foundation. I am the top teen media Spokesperson and in October of 2014 I went to the National Publicity summit in New York City for five days and I had the opportunity to pitch the mission and goals of the K is for Kids Foundation to the top TV producers, magazine editors, and media professionals in the country. I am a cofounder of Operation: Outreach, a club for high school students offering a ladder for leaders and I helped develop program manual for Operation: Outreach.  I have served well over 300 community service hours.

Click here to read more about her accomplishment for our foundation: http://www.kisforkids.org/news/nedgie-goes-to-new-york-teen-spokesperson-for-k-is-for-kids-visits-the-big-apple/ and http://www.kisforkids.org/news/student-leaders-make-history-with-k-is-for-kids/.



Pine Ridge Middle Student & Top Voracious Reader Honoree 2014 Nominates Karen Clawson, Founder & E.D., for Naples Daily News’ “25 Over 50” 2015 Award:

“In school my teacher was talking about philanthropy and altruism. And I remembered the end of last year when I was picked out of my whole school to be honored by K is for Kids because I love to read. Karen wanted to tell me about the community service programs and leadership programs that she offered during high school that works hard to get books to all the kids in Collier County. She teaches the students in the program business skills. These are necessary to keep the book program running.  It has to be organized and there has to be a plan.

Each year, Pine Ridge Middle School Media Specialist Beth Lindenmeyer (center) selects students who are "voracious" readers and show leadership potential for K is for Kids' annual end-of-year Top (Rising) Reader Book Awards. At left is young honoree Marialaura Minnone, an eighth grader, and at right is Karen Clawson, founder and executive director of K is for Kids.

Each year, Pine Ridge Middle School Media Specialist Beth Lindenmeyer (center) selects students who are “voracious” readers and show leadership potential end-of-year Top (Rising) Reader Book Awards given by K is for Kids. Shown at left is young honoree Marialaura Minnone, an eighth grader, and at right is Karen Clawson, founder and executive director of  K is for Kids Foundation.

What I learned most from this experience with Karen is that there really are people that are kind to total strangers.  She showed me what is was like to be recognized and rewarded for me just being me. She has inspired me to work on being as selfless and generous as she is.

She spoke about being readers and leaders. She told me that Ms. Lindenmeyer had told her all about my love for reading and Karen knew that I could be a leader!  Reading is important for the mind and helps build creativity and lets you discover new passions.

I don’t know anyone else like Karen. She really does wonderful things for complete strangers and she encouraged me to do the same by reading with a young child and giving them a book mark. It isn’t that you have buy anything for them.

The most important thing is that you give your time to them to help share your passion for reading.”



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Mary Moussa served a full high school internship from K is for Kids while a senior at Gulf Coast High School and a student at Southwest Florida College. She is now attending Florida Atlantic University.

Apr 2, 2015

Dear Mrs. Clawson,

Volunteering for K is for Kids was one of the greatest learning experiences in my life. I learned so much about taking on a leadership role and also learning how to work with a team. I continue to use the skills I learned in everyday life while working with others. I now sit on an executive board for the National Society of Leadership and Success and I owe that to K is for Kids for giving me the experience needed to gain such a role. It was an honor to have been part of such a wonderful foundation and I’m excited to see all of its further success. Thank you for the amazing opportunity!

Mary Moussa





February 27, 2015

Dear little reader,

Let me start by introducing myself: My name is Brigitte. I started out just like you – A reader, A dreamer.

Books filled my vision, my future, my passion and my dreams.

I am now 23 years old, at the peak of the beginning of my career in Aviation.

It wasn’t always easy or clear where I would end up for I still continue and aspire to be more and more of all the dreams out there; however, I can tell you that once your DREAM becomes your REALITY, it is amazing!

That is not just because I am a Flight Attendant but because life experiences, choices I made,  people I have met along the way,  and  my education background has helped me see life the way it is supposed to be seen.

They tell you to keep reading, not just for the purpose of actually “reading” but to allow you to open your mind & explore every dream you have thought possible, which all starts with a single book.

My internship with K is for Kids was a blessing that I never even imagined I would be taking a part of – especially, serving as the Spokesperson back in 2013.

Up to now, K is for Kids has held a special place in my heart. With every project it continues to achieve, I am reminded of the organization and why it is important – the endless opportunities and the future leaders it continues to shape.

I wanted to write this brief letter (while I am currently inflight with nothing but a laptop, wifi, and my book) to thank the Clawson family for giving me the opportunity to help other aspiring leaders during my time with K is for Kids – a great internship and opportunity that I would never forget …even after years later and I am miles and miles away 🙂

Brigitte Papica served as one of K is for Kids’ student spokespersons while a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University. Here she is on the set of Fox 4’s Morning Blend with fellow classmate John Maloney and talk show host “Wild” Bill.

I hope that K is for Kids continues to inspire you to be great. And to whoever reads this letter, to serve as a reminder that readers DO build leaders.


An aspiring Female pilot.

[Editor’s note: Brigitte Papica is a proud graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University and now serves as one of K is for Kids’ (adult) Advisory Council members.  We couldn’t be prouder of Brigitte ourselves as she soars like an eagle into the sky.  Read more about our aspiring female pilot here http://www.kisforkids.org/about/advisory-council/]


Kids are so hungry for new books to read

and we mean big “kids” (teens), too!

Editor’s note:K is for Kids invited 22 Collier County Public Schools to come shop for new books for their student reading incentive programs through the foundation’s Rising Readers program. We received so many heartfelt testimonials from teachers and students, it’s difficult sharing them all!


Palmetto Ridge High School’s media specialist, Mary Joe Parrish, decided to share her $1,000 shopping spree for new books with the school’s teachers.  To her great surprise, when she asked if any teachers needed new books for their classroom libraries, she received more than two dozen requests! So she held a raffle.  Here’s what two of the lucky winner had to say about shopping for free new books for their students:

“The K is for Kids books are amazing!!!!

It felt like my birthday and Christmas rolled into 1!

I cannot thank you enough and I am so very happy!!!!!!!  

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!” –Briana

“I picked soooo many good reads, I am super excited to have these books. 

Thank you very much!!” — Cheryl




A Parent’s Thank You following her Daughter Receiving a Voracious Reader Book Award at Pine Ridge Middle School

[Editor’s note: The student’s and mother’s names have been omitted for privacy.]

“Mrs. Clawson,

My daughter will enter high school next year. She has always required extra help in reading as the result of ongoing chemotherapy (about ten years) that has impacted her ability to learn or retain information. Because of this, she’s always hated reading.

I was a stay at home mom for 13 years when her father decided to leave our family. As a result, I had to scramble to get a job while attending college part-time to support us. While we have everything we need and then some, there are many trips to the library.

To my great surprise, [my daughter] has developed a love for reading this year and while she is not a stellar student, she is not a poor one either.

Your generous gift has allowed kids like [my daughter] who would otherwise not be recognized for their efforts and achievements to have their dedication and tenacity recognized. She was allowed to choose books for her very own collection that she’s both proud of and excited to read over the summer.

I think our success as a family and [my child’s] as a student and the timing of your gift makes for a beautiful story and wanted to thank you for being a part of it.”


[mother’s name]

PRMS - PHOTO - Group FAVE - Book Awards Students Seated 2014 FAVE 1 copy

Students received “Voracious Reader” 2014 Book Awards from K is for Kids at Pine Ridge Middle School.

Editor’s note: K is for Kids congratulates all the honorees at Pine Ridge Middle School and extends a big “thank you” to Media Specialist Beth Lindenmeyer who secured the grant for her twenty-plus avid readers to receive K is for Kids Book Awards. The students met together and were personally congratulated by both Beth and K is for Kids founder Karen Clawson.  There were a few laughs too as each student learned how to do a “grip and grin” for the photographer as they accepted their awards. Each student received a certificate of recognition and a book bag filled with the books they had personally selected online to read over the summer.  The students also had to apply their math skills to compute the final dollar amount with which they had to shop, factoring in the discount Barnes & Noble offers to educators and nonprofits. It was a fun, memorable and educational experience for all.

About K is for Kids Rising Readers program: K is for Kids’ Rising Readers program gives books directly to students to take home and keep in order to encourage them to read more and to also recognize their reading achievements.  Students earn books throughout the year through reading incentive programs sponsored by their media specialists.  At the end of the year, K is for Kids sponsors Top Reader Book Awards. In May 2014, students in 25 Collier County schools were honored as their media specialists collaborated with principals and teachers in recognizing their reading achievements.  Parents were thrilled to learn their children were being honored!

K is for Kids’ student leaders are proud to encourage the children and fellow classmates of Collier County to read more, dream more!



Testimonials about the 3rd Annual From the Heart Teen Fashion Show 2014

February 7, 2014

“I had the amazing experience of being a small part of the K is for Kids [Teen] Fashion Show at Barron Collier High School February 1st. College and high school kids helped put the show on for the enthusiastic audience. Kids from four years old to 22 participated in the show.

Pat and Karen Clawson put in an amazing amount of leadership to make this event possible. Karen is an amazing mentor to these wonderful youngsters.

What a great evening of joy and entertainment.

Can’t wait until next year.

— R. Anthony “Bob” Black 


 Photos above: Teens showcase prom fashions – a much anticipated climax of the show. Below: Younger models are quick to steal the hearts of guests.


For more photos, click here http://www.kisforkids.org/2014-teen-fashion-show-photos/

and here http://www.kisforkids.org/news/southwest-florida-teens-walk-the-runway-for-reading-naples-daily-news-sunday-edition-features-teen-fashion-show/


Vincent Izzi

February 4, 2014

“The K is for Kids Teen Fashion Show led by our future leaders was an inspiration for all that attended this event!”

[What struck me most was] the teamwork and camaraderie among the teens along with the enthusiasm of the audience and the fun that all the kids had modeling the clothes.”

— Vin Izzi, Izzi Business Consulting and K is for Kids Director


February 3, 2014

Ooh La La screen shotOoh La La screen shot


Jamie Lebhar, Elena Paola and Braiden Howell model accessories from Ooh La La! at the 3rd Annual K is for Kids From the Heart Teen Fashion Show 2014. Note: Elena’s sister was one of three student photographers who captured the magic moments of the evening.

“What a captivating show!

The energy from the kids was electrifying – great way to showcase the outfits and accessories.

It was clear that the detail that went into this show was well thought out. The collaborative efforts between the kids and the production team kept the show fun, fast paced and exciting for the audience.

Job well done!”

— Amy Turner, Proprietor


February 2, 2014

IMG_8540v2“I loved everything about the show — I loved that there were kids of all personalities and a variety of ages [and] sizes of students that represented many schools; and the kids were involved right up through high school*.  I really loved how their personalities came through.

My mother-in-law was in tears laughing [through] the first part of the show just because the kids were so cute.

The first girl who came out and spun around brought a smile to your face and set the stage for the evening.”

Mary Kay Bernard      

Editor’s Note: Mary Kay is the mother of Ann Bernard shown singing in photograph above.  The trio won second place in the show’s talent contest. Mary Kay is also a photographer who shared her snapshots of the event with K is for Kids (including the prom photos at top). You can see more of her work by clicking on links above. The busy mom also volunteered to stamp watermarks in the pictures shot by all three student photographers of the event. (K is for Kids helps teens participating in their youth leadership programs boost their resumes and build their portfolios.)

*A team of college students volunteered throughout the project, serving as advisors to the teen leaders, and pitching in wherever help was needed.




Letter from University of Central Florida student, January 2014

I joined K is for Kids Foundation through a friend already on the Teen Advisory Team [editor’s note: the team is now called the Student Leadership Council]. As a incoming high school freshman, I was determined to get involved and to take part in as many outstanding organizations as possible. When my friend suggested coming with him to a K is for Kids meeting, I wasn’t too sure what it was about or what to expect. After, I learned that it was an organization that fostered literacy and helped give books to those with less resources. As an avid reader and “book worm” from an early age, this struck me and kindled a passion within me. Soon after, I became part of the Teen Advisory Team and began participating in the K is for Kids cause.

There were many moments that struck me during my volunteering that made all the difference. I remember particularly during one of the events, a little girl bounced lively right passed me, tightly holding her newly signed book. Right then, I realized that little girl was me. She had the same glowing face, the same beaming smile and the same entranced look in her eyes that I would get as a little girl when I received a new book. It was heart-warming to be able to share the same childhood feeling with other children. Those were the moments when I realized that the K is for Kids Foundation was making a difference, and as a volunteer, I was contributing.

Haylee, at center, stands next to her brother Matthew as the Teen Advisory Team prepared to help children write storyboards for their giant filmstrip on canvas at Naples CityFest 2010.

Heidi, at center, stands next to her brother Matthew as the Teen Advisory Team prepared to help children write storyboards for their giant filmstrip on canvas at Naples CityFest 2010.

K is for Kids, not only provided me with great memories, the foundation also provided me with many useful skills. Upon first joining, I did not have many interactive skills, particularly not with adults. This changed, however, through my experiences. I learned to come out of my comfort zone and approach others. I was taught many professional skills as well, including leadership, collaboration, communication, problem solving and many more. Overall, I gained very valuable knowledge that I believe has prepared me for the social and professional world.

The couple years I volunteered with K is for Kids was both fun and educational. The K is for Kids Foundation opened a whole new door for me. My only wish is for other teens to realize what a great opportunity this foundation is and join too. For those who do join, I hope that they make as many amazing memories and friends as I did during my involvement with the K is for Kids Foundation.

— Heidi Waite




A Note from St. John Neumann student volunteer (shown 2nd from left in photo below)

Editor’s Note: On November 13th, a team of St. John Neumann students visited Brightest Horizons for a special storytime and book giveaway.  Our deep appreciation to author Juliana Howard for donating her children’s book “Catie the Copycat” so that every child could take it home for keeps!

Brightest Horizons SJN FGCU Fave PHOTO

1_ADD WM_FAVE_3teenswithkids_2013-11-14 16.35.11See video “Teens on a Mission” produced by Ryan Fricke, a senior and journalism major at Florida Gulf Coast University

http://www.kisforkids.org/photos-videos/ or on YouTube  target=”_blank”>

Jordan shares her experience:

Testimonial_Teen_JordanDennis Jordan is shown in left photo second from right and at left in photo at right.

To students: “K is for Kids is such a great organization to get involved with not only for the
service hours but because it is such a  great experience! Reading to the little second and third graders made me so happy, especially seeing a smile on their faces. I love K is for Kids because you can get involved in little service projects that make someone else’s day by just one simple gesture. I will most definitely volunteer for K is for Kids again in the future!”

To adults: “K is for Kids is a unique nonprofit organization helping both kids and our future leaders. Volunteers help engage young readers in a love for reading. Not only are they helping these children, but also earning community service hours and becoming role models to their community. The teens and growing readers both have a blast doing what they love to do.”

— Jordan Dennis



Barron Collier High School Teacher Shares Feedback from Students


Kelly Wilson, Barron Collier High School teacher of entrepreneurship, business, digital design and accounting, is honored with K is for Kids’ Shining Star Award 2012 for her outstanding contributions to the foundation’s literacy and leadership programs for Collier County students.

The feedback that I have received from students involved with K is for Kids has been awesome. Planning an event from start to finish is a huge undertaking. Students that get involved have the opportunity to develop skills that will benefit them for the rest of their life. Being a responsible person is an important life skill. This event will give kids the chance to prove that they can be assigned a task and see it through to the
end. Being a part of something that gives back shows great character in a person. Every role is an important one because without each piece of the puzzle being put in its place the show wouldn’t go on.

K is for Kids gives you the opportunity to be a LEADER! Make the most of the experience.

— Kelly Wilson

Barron Collier High School Business Department

Kelly with Donna Matthews of Southwest Florida Modeling Agency.

Kelly Wilson, Barron Collier High School business teacher with Donna Matthews of Southwest Florida Modeling & Talent Agency.

Shown at right: At the From the Heart Teen Fashion Festival, Kelly accepts K is for Kids’ Shining Star Award 2012 in recognition of her important role as teacher liaison for the students’ countywide community project promoting literacy and leadership. Sponsored by K is for Kids and Barron Collier High School in collaboration with Collier County Public Schools, the creative fun’raiser and teen charity event draws students of all ages from across Collier County.  Kelly is widely known for her tireless commitment to her students – in addition to her full teaching schedule, she is the teacher representative for several after school programs as well.



Facebook Fan cheers our efforts

Karen D. Clawson who was recognized as a PBS “Maker” for our area of USA, which is SW Florida… down in the Everglades… also referred to as Naples Fl , created this awesome program for developing children in the right way !!

Making reading Fun !! and participating in it with their Whole Selves for Expression. Karen having grown up in a the world of publishing and printing was surprised when her kids started the local public schools [and needed new] books in the libraries…

Karen went about fixing this problem and working to get people to donate books to the public school libraries etc. Then HOW to Make Reading Fun in a land with Media dominating… and kids memorized by TV and now of course computer games etc… Her foundation K is for Kids blossomed…

Karen has done a awesome job in building this….I have watched her nurture this foundation into exponential growth matching up college students, high school students with engaging the young kids…all learning from each other !! Paying it forward is so rare today, especially [with] such personal involvement [that] K is for Kids shows clearly.

— Cassandra Rose



FGCU Student Volunteers

Volunteering for K is for Kids was a blast. We went to Brightest Horizons to read to the kids as well as donate books. That was my first time really interacting with kids on that level where they would come up to you and ask if you could read them a book. It was all a new experience for me and it couldn’t have gone any better than it did. I think there should be more organizations like K is for Kids. The joy that the kids had when they received the books was more than anyone can ask for. I honestly enjoyed my time volunteering at K is for Kids and I would have to say that the highlight of it all was being able to talk to the kids and just interacting with them.

— Leonardo Garcia

T3ql9uAKnty5hExXEf0qj_2O71QdrE2_YuOmKlQzDzM Working with K is for Kids was a good experience. One of the events that I participated in with K is for Kids was going to Brightest Horizons and spending a few hours with the children there. It was very enjoyable. The children were a delight and Mrs. Clawson was very supportive. Being there and seeing what K is for Kids does for kids was a unique experience. Simply giving a child a book made them so happy. Working with K is for Kids for the past 5 weeks has been a very beneficial experience. K is for Kids is a wonderful organization with a noble cause.

— Jessica DiazSzGjt3hbwpw2F5J49jEmUHcI9M72PSoBl2y0m2MfiDY



Lake Trafford Elementary, Immokalee

Karen: Thank you for your support with the books. The kids really enjoyed them! LTES_PHOTO_GroupOf6_withBooks_byDanielPerez




— Daniel A. Perez

Media Specialist & BTC Lake Trafford Elementary _________________________________


Lely Elementary

Karen, as our school year comes to a close, I just wanted to say THANK YOU! We were able to send a book home with each student for summer reading!This would NOT have been possible without your efforts and dedication to all of the kids in Naples!!It was great meeting you and visiting the warehouse for the “goods”! Enjoy some great reads this summer and I’m hopeful our paths will cross again soon.


Miffy Ruggiero

Media Specialist Lely Elementary



Village Oaks Elementary, Immokalee


We are honoring all primary grade students who met their reading goal this quarter. Students attended a carnival and received a free book thanks to you. You rock!

— Shirley Rainwaters, Ed. S.

VOE Media Specialist

Read as if the text is gold, read with heart & soul. —Lucy Calkins Photos by Ruth Conly



Golden Terrace Elementary Primary

May 29, 2013 Hi Karen! These are pics from our TOP READER celebration last week. Each teacher chose their highest reading student to participate. We sent out 32 invitations-one for each k, 1, and 2nd grade class. We had treats, certificates, a bookmark making station, and of course books! Each child received two books and as you can see from the pictures, they were thrilled!! Thank you for providing us the means to celebrate our highest achieving students!

— Joyce Cordell

Media GTE





Golden Gate High

May 31, 2013


Dear K is for Kids, Thank you so much for providing my school with new books. I chose the book Matched by Allie Condie and it exceeded my expectations. The mix between action and romance was perfect. I found myself lost in the book to the point where I thought I was trapped in the protagonist’s totalitarian society myself. It not only entertained me, but also provided me with the opportunity make connections in my AICE International History class about how the book’s government is to similar totalitarian countries that exist in real life. The book was so amazing that I had recommended and pass it on to pass it on to my friend, Yolna, who at this point, is enjoying it herself. I am now hooked on the “Matched” trilogy and can’t wait to get the next book. Once again, I thank you for donating books to Golden Gate High School. I truly appreciate it!





Brenda Hawkins

Brenda Hawkins
Public Relations & Communications Consultant

Karen Clawson is a dynamo, whose unflagging commitment to the cause of delivering books to children in extra-traditional reading spaces through the efforts of a teen volunteer program is clearly obvious.

Having created the non-profit foundation, K is for Kids, for this purpose, Karen has made her mark on the community by mobilizing kids, creativity and connections to build an army of volunteers and donors. Her ability to multi-task is a phenomenon rarely seen; Karen is known for nothing, if not her energy, enthusiasm and devotion to instilling literacy wherever and whenever possible.

Recommendation posted on Linkedin May 13, 2013



Golden Terrace Elementary Primary

Testamonial_GTES-Primary_ThankYou_Letter_JoyceCordellApril 5, 2013

Dear K is for Kids Foundation,

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude for the many wonderful contributions you have bestowed upon our students at Golden Terrace Elementary School. A special thank you goes to Karen Clawson for your energetic and enthusiastic devotion to improving the lives of our young readers. As a new Media Specialist I was so grateful for your guidance and support.

K is for Kids Foundation provided free books to every one of our students. This event generated a great deal of excitement and interest in reading. [Editor’s note: Read how our Rising Readers program treated students to a “Big Book Giveaway”.] By providing books as awards, the Foundation also enabled me to start a reading incentive program that recognizes students for their efforts. In addition, grant funds from Friends of the school Library allowed me to add some much needed new titles to our school library.

I am so thankful to K is for Kids Foundation for all of these generous gifts. Most of all, I am thankful to the Foundation for helping me promote and inspire a love of reading in all our students.


Joyce Cordell

Media Specialists GTE-N [Primary]


Manatee Elementary School

April 3, 2013 Greetings! Testamonial_MES_ThankYou_GoldenReaders_Table First graders are thrilled with our Golden Books as the looks on their faces show. We, at MES, are interested in receiving more Golden Books if possible. The students love them! Your generosity is overwhelming and we appreciate the wonderful books we receive from you. Testamonial_MES_ThankYou_GoldenReaders_Students   We used golden tickets as bookmarks. What a treat! —- ML Bryan

MES Media Specialist ______________________________________________________________


Manatee Middle School

March 4, 2013 Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to Karen Clawson for her hard work resulting in a generous donation of books to the Manatee Middle School Media Center. I have so many students who are eager to read the books she has raised for our library, and I can’t wait to share the photos of their smiling faces when they check them out! Much appreciation for Karen Clawson and all her magnificent efforts to support kids in need of books!


Kathleen Dougherty

Manatee Middle School ______________________________________________________________


Student Intern & K is for Kids Spokesperson, Florida Gulf Coast University

February 18, 2013

John Maloney and Brigitte Papica, K is for Kids Spokespersons and FGCU interns pose with Wild Bill of the Fox 4 Morning Blend show.

“If you can change a chapter in your life what would it be?” “Nothing because my life is an endless story & there’s more chapters to unfold.”

This year definitely made me take chances, dream bigger, and achieve more. Especially, making big decisions with opportunities I’ve been given. It has been a blessing to work for K is for Kids, serving as their spokesperson as well as interning and working directly with children and inspiring them to become better leaders, and I would like to thank Karen D. Clawson for giving me these wonderful opportunities to showcase my talents and abilities and helping me further my knowledge in the business world 🙂

The primary goal to inspire others through the power of reading and books took me back to my childhood and what I’ve wanted out of life. & it’s Simply Amazing ♥ #goKisForKids #memories4life #dream #makeithappen”

— John Maloney



K is for Kids spokesperson and FGCU intern

winter 2013 (facebook post) and below, post on WGCU MAKERS: Women who make Southwest Florida, http://news.wgcu.org/post/karen-clawson

“I am so glad to have interned for K is for Kids and be able to walk away with a great deal of knowledge working in the business aspect as the learning experience through this internship 🙂 I have learned numerous set of skills including working under pressure and being cautious of deadlines and ensuring that projects are met to the best of my ability.

This internship has allowed me to reach my primary goal of becoming a better leader as well as allowing me to have met such a wonderful mentor such as Mrs. Karen Clawson. She has given me the opportunity to figure out my strengths and weaknesses and has helped me develop and broaden those skills especially in communications. One of the main thing we learn in my public relations courses at Florida Gulf Coast University major is how to ensure that we communicate our ideas effectively.

I have experienced and have learned firsthand about the importance of paying attention to details and how to identify and manage the different needs of the groups and/ or certain individuals that may need extra help. Working within deadlines have allowed me to realize just how much I love my major and just how much I grew from this internship experience.


Wild Bill, the popular co-host of Fox 4’s Morning Blend, interviews K is for Kids spokespersons and FGCU interns John Maloney and Brigitte Papica.

When I was asked if I wanted to be a spokesperson and appear on television for Fox Morning Blend, I was very hesitant at first and did not realize of my potential. With the show and just preparing for the big day at Fox, I have been able to speak with confidence and create memories working for this nonprofit organization.


K is for Kids Spokesperson and FGCU Intern Brigitte Papica stands with K is for Kids Founder and Executive Director Karen Clawson at K is for Kids’ Big Book Giveaway at Golden Terrace Elementary School.

The best memory I have with working with K is for Kids aside from working closely with Mrs. Clawson and the student teens is the opportunity I had the day we visited Golden Terrace Elementary. Seeing the children’s faces lit up each time their teacher walked them to the bookmobile was just amazing to see and was unforgettable. I truly believe in the power of books and the knowledge and excitement it gives to a child each time they open one up. There was not one kid who was not satisfied that day because all of them got to keep a book to take home and share with their families. I was asked by one of the students on what I do as an intern and how college is and I can honestly say my heart melted hearing that question.


Students show off the news books they just selected from the Big Rig Bookmobile with (l-r) GTE-Intermediate’s Media Specialist Tiffany Weeks, K is for Kids Founder and Executive Director Karen Clawson, and Brigitte Papica.

I know as a communication major, one of the reasons why I decided to be in this field is to be able to share my experiences with others as well as tell my stories in order to inspire and motivate each individual to do more and to always remember that “nothing is impossible.”

K is for Kids is one of the best non-profit organizations I’ve grown to love working with and I wish that others will get the chance to intern or even just volunteer for this organization as it is a teen volunteer driven organization that works for the kids and by the kids. There is never a day without books, reading, and leaders that make it all happen for this organization and I am really glad I was a part of this growing nonprofit.”

— Brigitte Papica



Golden Terrace Elementary Intermediate

Letter to the Editor of the Naples Daily News published January 31, 2013 [photos added here] “Read all about it”

“On Jan. 17 and 18, Golden Terrace Elementary celebrated literacy week with a very special event. [Editor’s note: The event also celebrated the launch of K is for Kids’ “Bring a Book, Bring a Friend for Children’s Literacy Month in Collier County as well.] K is for Kids Foundation sponsored a “Big Book Giveaway” for our students, bringing in over 7,000 books to our school with the help of a huge tractor-trailer truck, the Big Rig Bookmobile. 6_Fave1_CloseUp_Colors_Signk4kids_Teacher_Karen_Kids_Books_IMG_4741 Each student signed a reading pledge, promising to read every day. Then they were allowed to board the big rig and choose a book of their very own from shelves of donated books. About 1,000 books valued at $5,000 were given away. 12_BigBookGiveaway_GTES_2boysWithBooks_byGavinVary Being able to climb aboard the bookmobile and hear the Big Rig toot its impressive horn and choose a book to keep provided memories that will stay with these children for the rest of their lives!

Karen Clawson of K is for Kids and her teen volunteers worked countless hours collecting and sorting the donated books for this event. Brigitte Papica and Gavin Vary, Florida Gulf Coast University interns for K is for Kids, helped students.

John and Kathy Gervase prepared their big rig and rolled it into town to help K is for Kids launch its own literacy month this February.

On behalf of the students and staff at Golden Terrace, I would like to give a big thank you to all those who helped make this event possible!

K is for Kids has been supporting literacy initiatives at GTE for the last few years through its Rising Readers and Friends of the School Library programs. We are so very grateful!

Please visit the K is for Kids website to learn more about this fabulous organization at http://www.kisforkids.org/”

— Tiffany Weeks

Naples Media Specialist, Golden Terrace Elementary



FGCU Student Volunteer

November 30, 2012

“To the amazing Karen Clawson,

Megan with youngster at RCMA. K is for Kids’ student volunteers from FGCU visited youngsters to deliver books collected by Starbucks-Collier County, read stories, listen as the students read aloud, and help with homework.

I want to thank you so much for such a successful semester. I enjoyed every moment I spent with you on our Civic Engagement Project. You provided us with such great leadership and support that made this project so much fun. You are such a wonderful individual and leader in the community and I appreciate all of your time and effort you put into this project. I have always been afraid of being in front of the camera but you brought out another confident side in me and I cannot thank you enough. Please let me know about events in the future that you would like my help with. I am so blessed to have met you. Thank you so much, Megan Van Etten —— RE: FGCU Volunteers Visit Children at RCMA http://www.kisforkids.org/news/fgcu-volunteers-make-young-friends-at-rcma/ October 18, 2012 Hi Karen, The pictures are adorable and I really enjoyed myself yesterday! The kids are such shining stars and put an instant smile on my face. It was great! Please let me know of any other volunteer opportunities such like this because I really enjoyed it! Thank you so much, Megan Post script October 24th ——————————— Hi Mrs. Clawson, I just want to thank you for all of your help today. I really appreciate your letting us use your computer and wonderful knowledge to create amazing videos fro children and our careers. You are such a kind, generous lady and I feel so blessed to be working with you and K is for Kids on this Civic Engagement project. Sylvie, John, and I really appreciate all of your guidance with this project and we look forward to working with you more in the next few weeks. Thank you so much and I am so glad we chose to work with K is for Kids 🙂 Thank you, Megan _____________________________________________________________


Brightest Horizons Child Development Center


We are so thankful to Mrs. Karen and all the caring volunteers at K is for Kids for selecting the children at Brightest Horizons to receive all sorts of books to take home! Brightest Horizons also received a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble for more educational items!

We Love K is for Kids!

— at Brightest Horizons Child Development Center.




October 7, 2012

Karen, I have been reflecting on my many observations over the years. I am not sure that there has been anyone as dedicated as you in improving the lives of so many. K is for Kids is making it a better world, with benefits that will never end.

Author Robert Dean Bair

The time and financial support that has been possible with the support of Pat, Erin and Patrick [your family] and your effort cannot be measured. And your concern and support of others…can never be repaid. Thank you and may God continue to bless you and your family.

Stay safe,

Robert Dean Bair

Author of Cloisters of Canterbury and Peace at Lambeth Bridge ____________________________________________________________


Immokalee High School

August 20, 2012

The book giveaway went awesome!! I had about 7 books left. I’ve added those books to my class library!!

Thanks so much again…. I love what you’re doing for kids.

Sharing the wealth of reading: Our 2012 “Big Book Giveaway” was an unprecedented event for Collier County educators and students, thanks to the 10,000-book donation from the Book Warehouse upon its closing, rooms donated by Cypress Self Storage, bookshelves donated by Target-Collier and Lee Counties, Northside Naples Kiwanis Club, AMI Kids-Ft. Myers, Best Buy and its Tag Team, K is for Kids’ teen leaders, Publix, Barnes & Nobles Booksellers and Trader Joe’s.

— Dazra McDonald

9th Grade English, Immokalee High School, selected books for her own “book giveaway” so her students would have new books to read over the summer.



Student Leader & K is for Kids Spokesperson, Gulf Coast High

January 5, 2012

“When I first got involved with K is for Kids Foundation, I looked at it as an easy way to get my volunteer hours out of the way. I soon realized that this experience would benefit me in so many ways and give me skills I can use for the rest of my life.

What I liked most about volunteering for K is for Kids is how it allowed me to understand different components of running a business …. I realized the importance of communicating with everyone and publicizing events….

It was amazing to see how much this organization grew during the time I was involved, and this showed me that when you persevere, you can take small ideas a long way.

K is for Kids was an invaluable experience for me, and I hope that many more teens are able to have the same experience as I had as the foundation continues to grow and bring awareness to a great cause.”

Matthew and two other Gulf Coast High School Sharks football players worked with Video Production students to film a video encouraging elementary school students to “Power up with Reading!”

Matt joins other K is for Kids Teen Spokespersons as producer Chuck Ardezzone of ITZ Media Group helps them prepare for filming several PSAs for the Foundation at the production studio of SWFL Charity TV. A warm thank you to Comcast for sponsoring K is for Kids Foundation and airing the PSAs.

— Matthew Colligan

Editor’s Note: Matt was one of K is for Kids’ top teen leaders 2009-12 and amongst our first “class” of graduating seniors.

Matthew graduated Valedictorian, Class of 2012 at Gulf Coast High School and will be attending University of Pennsylvania this fall. Congratulations, Matthew!

To see the video of the Gulf Coast High School Sharks Football Players for younger students and other videos by our teen spokespersons, click here: http://www.kisforkids.org/photos-videos/ or view them on YouTube: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/nov/08/gchs-sharks-football-players-team-up-with-tv-produ/


Mantee Elementary

Mantee Elementary School students in grades 3, 4, 5

“Hip! Hip! Hooray! We’re off to wonderful reading places In our hearts K is for Kids Foundation will stay!

We love our books and treat them nice Books that give us information and sizzle with spice.

Our thanks we send and warm wishes too For all the folks who made our dreams come true!

With books! Lots of books! Wonderful books!

I couldn’t resist writing a poem in the spirit of Dr. Seuss! We treasure our new books and our excitement grows more and more each day.

Thanks again,

— Mary L. Bryan

Media Specialist, Manatee Elementary South


Golden Gate Elementary

April 4, 2012

K is for Kids’ Big Book Giveaway for Lee and Collier County educators featured a raffle for a Trader Joe’s shopping bag overflowing with tasty treats. The popular store recently opened in Naples. L-R: Karen Clawson, founder and executive director of K is for Kids Foundation; Rebecca Endrelunas, media specialist, Gulf Coast High School; raffle winner Marcia Kolmann, media specialist, Golden Gate Elementary School; Ashley Bagley, Best Bag Tag Team volunteer; Steven Banks, Property Manager, Cypress Self Storage; Danielle Toms, Director of Business Development, Mindful Management

Thank you for the book opportunities that you have delivered to the schools of Collier County.

Also thank you for the surprise of the TRADER JOE raffle bag of delicious goodies that I was most fortunate to win. My husband and I are enjoying all of the treats!

Happy Springtime and again many thanks for recognizing the job that we do as Library Media Specialists and encouraging all kids to read!

–Marcia Kolmann

Media Specialist, Golden Gate Elementary

Listen to what other educators had to say by clicking on link below, “Big Book Giveaway: Teachers Shop for Free Books for Students” “>



Farm Worker Village, Collier County Housing Authority

February 22, 2012

Dear Karen:

We cannot even begin to express how appreciative we are of you and the tremendous amount of work and effort that you and your organization put in helping made the reading event at Farm Worker Village spectacular. The authors were great in sharing their stories and as seen through the laughter, comments and pictures afterwards, everyone, children and parents alike, were having so much fun.

We are so appreciative of others, like yourself, who share the same belief that exposure to books and the love of reading will help these children be more successful in school and will make such an impact that it will break the cycle of illiteracy in generations to come.

We look forward to continuing to partner with K is for Kids Foundation at future events and bringing the love of reading to children.


Esmeralda Serrata

PHM Executive Director, Collier County Housing Authority



Village Oaks Elementary


Link here to read it on naplesnews.com http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/dec/24/no-headline—nuts_and_stars_edits/


“3D Read Aloud”

Mission Completed!

December 1, 2011

Village Oaks Elementary, Immokalee

Through the K is for Kids foundation “Rising Readers” program, the entire second grade at Village Oaks Elementary were able to enjoy a 3D read aloud with Library Media Specialist, Stephanie Griffin. Each second grade child received their own 3D book, which included two pairs of cool blue character 3D glasses.

Students were rewarded for their “pawsome” success in the new independent reading program Reading Counts. Teachers have established goals and the students have been working hard this second quarter on reading and achieving.

Mrs. Griffin gathered four second grade classes with a total of seventy-seven students in the media center to celebrate their accomplishments. She praised them for their hard work and dedication to being top readers, then discussed the importance of reading and the ultimate benefits as long-life readers. Before reading the book, she asked her young enthusiastic audience “What does 3D mean?” and up went a few hands. One little girl called out, “Three dimensional!” Mrs. Griffin replied “That’s right and how very smart you are!”

She then continued reading aloud the 3D book to the students while discussing the visual elements of a three dimensional book and its special effects. The students were engaged while she read and very excited.

After the event the students practiced their writing skills by writing thank you letters to the Foundation. “K is for Kids has allowed the opportunity to touch seventy-seven children and beyond. Each has made a pledge to continue reading and sharing their books with family and friends,” said Mrs. Griffin. “Students still continue to come into the media center and tell me how much they enjoyed the read aloud and 3D book.”

Mrs. Griffin continued to say that she feels this type of reward and celebration will last a lifetime and will be one that the children will not forget. Mrs. Griffin says that she and Karen Clawson, Founder & Executive Director of K is for Kids, share the same feelings: “We are both are very passionate about instilling the love of reading in our young children and allowing the opportunity to have new books in their hands.”

She went on to add “Every day I am able to touch the lives and hearts of children through books. That’s the most moving and exciting part of my job.”

Mrs. Griffin concluded by saying she believes K is for Kids is a wonderful organization that truly cares about our communities and literacy.



K is for Kids Student Leader, Gulf Coast High School

Teen Testimonial, November 2010

Haylee, at center, stands next to her brother Matthew as the Teen Advisory Team prepared to help children write storyboards for their giant filmstrip on canvas at Naples CityFest 2010.

[I’m] thanking you for this incredible experience and for directing such a great foundation. 🙂 It was very fun! Can’t wait until the next event!! -Heidi

Note: Heidi has served on the Teen Advisory Team from 2010-12.



Young Author Parent Elizabeth Stone, March 2010

March 2010

“I wanted to tell you how impressed I was with the teenagers who were volunteering at your “Kids Celebrate Reading!” Book Fair at Barnes & Noble – there were so polite and patient with the children while they were having their face painted and writing stories. They were an interesting group to speak with and everything. They just seemed to be really focused on their purpose for being there. What a great job they did!

The staff in the store were very polite and reception to our presence in the store and very accommodating.

I was so pleased my daughters were able to get their photo taken for your young authors books and that my oldest daughter got a chance to write a story.”

— Elizabeth Stone




Guest Author

Bring a Book, Bring a Friend® Fun’raiser benefiting the Village School, Spring 2006


It was so nice seeing you and being exposed to the passion that you have for children’s need for books. So many give lip service, but you are actually contributing to children that you will never know.

God bless. Looking forward to your big event in September…. — Bob

— Robert Dean Bair

Author of the Rob Royal series, “Cloisters of Canterbury” and “Peace at Lambeth Bridge”



Facebook Fan

“I am excited for you. I know it will be a great success for you this weekend….

You are a wonderful woman to work so smart to help the kids. I am impressed with your skills to help in public education for all.


Mary Will Gross on Facebook



Young Author Parent

Comment on news item

“Dear Karen,

My daughter and I participated in your wonderful event last year at Barnes and Noble and are interested in the book she had written a page. This was great fun for all!!!

I was so thrilled to donate all our books that we have outgrown to such a wonderful organization.”

— Liza Buffington Smith

In March 2012, Liza added,

“Aidan received a ‘6’ on her essay for Collier Writes, the highest score possible!

I attribute her love of writing stories to being in your Young Authors book.”



Immokolee Housing & Family

Special thanks to Target at North Naples for donating the shopping bags to carry all the books to the kids.

Hello Mrs. Clawson,

Thank you SO MUCH for the books. The children are very excited.

Please let me know what I can do for you as we continue our new friendship.

Take care,

Thanks again!

— Lynn Bowen



Fun Time Early Learning Academy

Hi Karen,

I saw these online.  What darling photos.

Thanks so much for taking care of our children. They do love their books. Your teens were patient and nurturing to the children. A great time for all alike and books to last forever.

You are dear!

— Franny

Click on the photos by Lexey Swall to see at naplesnews.com



Lake Trafford Elementary & Manatee Elementary

A letter to the editor published in the Naples Daily News, Perspective section by from Linda Pattyson, then media specialist at Lake Trafford Elementary School in Immokalee,

Photo below by Sheila Collins, media specialist, Manatee Elementary School of young students getting their first glimpse of their new books from K is for Kids Foundation.

Click here to read the full stor

2 Responses to Three Guests Authors appear at Kids Celebrate Reading! Book Fair sponsored by K is for Kids®

  1. Dear Karen, My daughter and I participated in your wonderful event last year at Barnes and Noble and are interested in the book she had written a page. This was great fun for all!!! I was so thrilled to donate all our books that we have outgrown to such a wonderful organization. When will the “Young Authors Book” be available?

  2. kdclawson says:

    Hey Liz,

    Did you receive our emails this last summer linking you to the book online? I will re-send if you didn’t on Monday, right after our “Films & Flavors on 5th” event wraps up.

    Hope to see you and your daughter there!

    Sincerely yours,
    Karen C.