19 - Charlotte, NC
“You don't appreciate how great you have it until you look at the person beside you and understand what they're going through; specifically, with things that we may take for granted - like having a healthy family.”
When Olivia Stinson was 13 years old, she attended an annual program held at her church during the Christmas season. As she worked to build a connection and help the children feel welcome, she realized they were the children of incarcerated parents. Over time, Olivia developed a special interest in these children and knew she was meant to help them in any way she could. She founded PEN Pals Book Club and Support Group, which strives to promote literacy and provide cultural and social activities for the children of incarcerated parents ages 12 to 19. The “BE A Reader (B.E.A.R.) Book Club was established for ages 2 to11 to help expand the knowledge of reading.
Under Olivia’s leadership, PEN Pals Book Club has strengthened educational achievement by promoting literacy and involving members of the educational system of her county. The mentors associated with the organization include both certified teachers and special area teachers who provide support in areas such as Spanish, dance and drama. In order to develop stronger reading skills, Olivia is working to create a personal library in the homes of the members of the book clubs. She strongly believes that enrichment activities benefit children as well, so she encourages them to attend plays, ballets and concerts. She believes that these children have the ability to learn, but may need special attention given the situation of their families. That's why Olivia is a 2012 Woman of Worth!