Local Non-Profit Gives Kids the Opportunity to become Published Authors

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - They say books train your imagination to dream big. Well, kids like Madisyn Marshall are reaching for the stars thanks to the reading, writing, speaking and business training they are getting at "Every Child Has a Story."

Nine-year-old Madisyn Marshall is one of six kids about to become published authors. Her book is about her dream. " My book is about me running for president in 2044 and 2048."

Marshall said the writing process was pretty simple for her. "It's basically like writing an essay but about whatever you want."

Beverly Jones-Durr is the executive director at Every Child Has a Story and she is very passionate about helping kids gain confidence; she says it stems from something she noticed as a young girl.

"When we got to class, what I noticed was some of my friends - they knew the answers but they wouldn't raise their hands. I was always the one with my hand up anxious to say something."

Jones-Durr said she couldn't quite understand why her peers wouldn't volunteer to answer the questions asked by the teacher, even when they knew the answers. Then her mother told her why they were so hesitant.

"And my mother told me it was fear - that they weren't comfortable speaking what they knew."

Now Jones-Durr wants to make sure no kid is afraid to speak their mind and share what they know.  She said that's why she created "Every Child Has a Story."

She starts by teaching children how to write. The program is called "Speak out, Write Now." It's for any child speaker, writer, and CEO who wants to fine tune their skills. If they are not able to attend regular sessions, they can complete the program online.

Jones-Durr explained, "The writer's vibe helps you to bring those ideas out of your head and put them on paper in a way that creates a consistent story that you want to tell; we're sort of creating little storytellers."

She believes communication is a skill utilized by all from a gregarious socialite to an introverted intellect. "Communication can be dance, it can be poetry, it can be art, but there are so many forms of communication we all need to touch some of that."

With the power of good communication in hand, these kids are able to shoot for the stars.

"First you have to dream big, to dream at all," Marshall added.

Every Child Has a Story has two events coming up.

The first is the Annual Speak Out, Write Now Conference for Youth, which brings together community youth ages 7 and older for a full day of excitement, entertainment, workshops and more. The conference will be held on June 8 from 9:30 a.m. - 3:00

p.m. at the Embrace Center in Huntsville. This year, workshops will be facilitated by their young members! The kids will teach sessions on preparing and presenting speeches, writing and publishing books, and starting businesses. The event is free and lunch and beverages will be provided. Vendors for the event are all Jr. CEOs.

The second event is their Once Upon a Starry Night Fundraising Gala, scheduled for Friday, June 14th at 6 p.m. Tickets for the event are still available, starting at $50 for general admission and $400 for a table of eight.

The night's entertainment includes 14-year-old Woodbridge, Virginia native Jay Durr, Disc Jockey, R&B Singer, and Songwriter and a 17-year-old Master of Ceremony.

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