When I was growing up, my mother read to me every night before bed. I didn’t understand at the time that these were more than special moments with Mom, but she did. Mom knew that reading would be critical to my lifelong learning, as she understood that literacy is the key to everything.
A mother is so often a child’s first and best teacher. In fact, a mother’s education level is the greatest predictor of her children’s future academic success. Right now, mothers are suddenly even more critical to their children’s education, and many lack the resources to adequately support their development.
I think of mothers like Mariana, who lives in Tampa with her husband and three children. A native Spanish speaker, Mariana struggled with basic tasks after her family moved from El Paso. Buying groceries, making phone calls, and setting up utilities were a challenge. She was unable to get a job because her reading and writing were too poor, and—worst of all—she could not support her children in school because she couldn’t communicate with their teachers.
Like so many mothers, Mariana dedicated herself to building the skills she needed to provide for herself and her family. She took evening classes in English and reading. She listened to the radio and read every book she could get her hands on. She and her daughter read to each other and helped each other improve. Mariana achieved her goals, and she now volunteers as a literacy tutor. She encourages others, saying, “You are smart enough, so don’t doubt yourself. Help is there if you ask for it.”
Millions of Americans are asking for help, and with your support, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy can continue to answer their call. Over the last few months, while continuing our ongoing programming, we have provided special toolkits to support the at-home learning of American families. This would not have been possible without the critical support of friends like you. The challenge is far from over, and the Barbara Bush Foundation is committed to providing the resources to empower those hardest hit, like Mariana, to build meaningful lives.
So today I am asking you for help to make this a reality. Your continued support of the Barbara Bush Foundation will directly provide life-changing resources to families across the country during this unprecedented time.
This Mother’s Day, while I will miss my own mother tremendously, I will celebrate the impact of her legacy on mothers like Mariana—which, together, we can carry on. I invite you, too, to honor your mother or another special person with your gift. Together, we can be a beacon of hope for mothers and their children nationwide.