“As a teacher, I see the strong connection between lack of literacy and the prison system,” Frazier said. “I have a deep love and concern for our children and when I read the statistics it breaks my heart. If my organization could save just one child from the cycle of the criminal justice system, then it’s all worth it.”
“The mission of I See Me Inc. is to dismantle the school to prison pipeline for children of color by engaging them with literature that mirrors their image, therefore raising their literacy rates,” Frazier said. “According to research, we know that two-thirds of the students who are not reading by fourth grade are doomed to become part of the school to prison pipeline.”
Another I See Me program is called “First Libraries.” This year the organization provided libraries to pre-K students.
“Reading is the common thread that connects everything we do throughout life,” Frazier said. “When students cannot read, they are just behind in school and fall behind in life.”
Statistics show that 60 percent of low-income homes do not have books. Frazier realized after studying the research it is impossible for a child to fall in love with reading if they don’t have access to books, which propelled her to develop a multitude of programs through I See Me.
“I grew up in this community. It’s very important to me to see our children thrive,” she said. “If we don’t invest to ensure our children are successful, we will perish. Children migrate and love to read books that mirror them. When they see themselves in these books, they will follow those values.”
The I See Me website includes a quote by Kofi Annan: “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”
Devon Frazier wants to see her become students literate, and hopeful.
For more information, visit www.iseemeinc.com.
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