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If You Can, Then Do

by Sonja Brannon

My husband, Rob, and I have been married for 26 years. We’ve experienced a lot - as most couples have with this length of background. When I met Rob, he was 19 and studying to be an engineer. 30 years later, I can tell you the one thing that defines an engineer: when you see a problem, you fix it. 


I’ve lived this mantra for 26 years. So last year, when I realized that there was no K-3, PTSA-led literacy program - this mantra came to me. I needed to fix this. 


I spent 2 weeks speaking to parents, former teachers, current teachers, librarians…all to get myself educated on current books and well loved classics. 


Maybe a week later, I based my idea on the one thing that I loved most from my twins being in first grade — reading to their class. 


The memories of that event still make my face light up. I remember sharing 2 books that I loved reading to my own 4 kids. I loved seeing their first grade eyes light up as they discovered 2 new books they had never experienced. 


I knew we needed something like this for all our K-3 students. 


By September, I had sent my proposal to the woman that had been supporting my ideas. She brought me into a PTSA Executive Board Meeting and I sold my ideas and my next steps. I received incredible feedback and loads of support. 


Fast forward to December and I am in full advertising mode. And then, our PTSA President had an amazing idea, what if we ask parents to help us get the books? 


I’d like to think I’m a “the glass is half full” kind of person, but in this instance, truly, I figured we’d get a few. But our parents amazed me and supported this program beyond my belief - they provided every single book. Every one! It was very much a humbling moment. 


Since then, I’ve been working so hard on getting everything scheduled - teachers, parents, community members, etc. I’m excited to say that I’ve loved every moment. 


Don’t get me wrong — there have been frustrations. And a seriously funny story involving the Farmington Hills Police Department. (If you see me at church and want to know more, stop and ask. Just know, I’ll laugh through the entire storytelling!) 


In the end, I want to share this with our community: partly because I love reading to children, but also because I know our kids can learn so much from the members of our community. We are different. We are alike. We have stories that only we have experienced. And we have children that we can help experience the world around them. 


If you would be interested in joining this program, we do still have some spots available. Click here to sign up.


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