Some of my fondest memories as a child revolved around bed time stories. My parents would tuck me in, give me a kiss goodnight, and share with me the recent adventures of Goofy, Donald, and Mickey. The Disney collection was my all-time favorite! Then, as many 5 year olds I would read the story back to them from memory while they actively listened in awe when I could point out a word or two. Fast forward 25 years down the road and that same enthusiasm radiates from my voice, however this time I have a bigger audience; my students. There is nothing in the world that compares to watching 18 kids’ eyes light up with curiosity as the pages of a book turn. Books offer an experience, a chance to imagine, a magical place to go in your mind. Books also provide key facts and interesting information, which is key to any educational foundation. However, shortly after I began teaching, I realized that most of my students never had the opportunity to read at home.
You see, I work in a school in which 97% of the students fall below the poverty line. A school in which the parents have to work three jobs simply to ensure their kids have a place to live and a meal to eat. Students come in tired, hungry, and many are far below grade level. After recognizing this, for every holiday or special occasion I would buy books to send home with my students. Anytime a student would show interest in a particular book in my classroom library, it would be in their backpack by the end of the day for them to keep. I kept telling myself it wasn’t enough. What I was doing in my own classroom didn’t make a big enough impact on the academic needs of children living in poverty. Then, after years of thinking, it finally came to me! On top of loving children’s books, I also consider myself a pretty trendy teacher, so why not combine the two? And with that thinking, Kind Cotton emerged. Our high fashion tees and tanks, not only take you on a walk down memory lane with each inspiring quote, but with every purchase you are helping to promote a love of reading by providing a book to a child in need. With your help, we can truly make an impact.
Well, we’re glad you asked. Kind Cotton was brought to life by Kaitlin Johnstone, an elementary school teacher in Sarasota, Florida. As Teacher of the Year at her school in 2016, Kaitlin has dedicated herself to improving the lives of children she works with each and every day. Now, she’s taking this effort outside of the classroom.
At Kind Cotton we are committed to making a tangible impact on as many kids as possible. Rather than a simple book donation, we want to make a lasting impact on as many children as we can. This means not only getting books in children’s hands, but keeping them there. And keeping them in the households where they’re most needed. Starting with low-income children in Sarasota county, we have high aspirations of extending this impact nationwide.
After all, we’re a company built on being kind