Actress, author, and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete visited Wichita this past weekend to support a collaborative effort with Heartspring’s inaugural CAREfest event and a launch for Storytime Village’s Kansas Literacy Festival.
Peete began Saturday’s meet and greet, sponsored by WSU’s Ulrich Museum, by reading her book “ My Brother Charlie,” a peek into the world of what it is like living with someone with autism. Following the reading, Peete answered questions from the crowd and took pictures while giving away signed copies of her book.
“ Holly is an extremely down-to-earth person, and I am so grateful for the Wichita community and their support of Storytime Village! Special thank you to Vice President Marche Flemming Randle and Ulrich Museum. We had a wonderful turnout,” said Prisca Barnes, President and CEO at Storytime Village.
In 1997, inspired by Holly’s father (diagnosed with Parkinson’s) and Peete’s son RJ (diagnosed with autism), Holly and her husband, former NFL quarterback, Rodney launched the HollyRod Foundation to provide compassionate care and advocacy for both Parkinson’s and autism.
“ Doctors told us my son would never have meaningful employment and a laundry list of other things. And, you know, he just texted me from work this morning at Dodger Stadium,” said Peete. “It’s a blessing; my goal and my mission is to spread hope and to share our story so we can help other families journey; it is something that I love doing. It’s in my DNA.”
On Friday, Holly kicked off CAREfest’s Autism CARE Walk. The festival also included many engaging events like a 5K run, PedalFest bike rides, a car show, and an art show.
“Heartspring and Storytime Village are partnering to lift all children and their families in need of services to help them live their best lives,” says Stacie Williamson, Heartspring’s Vice President for Advancement. “Together, we hope to see children thrive and grow in all ways. We understand the importance early childhood literacy and early intervention play in this success. It takes a village.”
Both Storytime Village’s Kansas Literacy Festival and HeartSpring’s CAREfest are already working on linking efforts again in 2022 and doing unique things with Holly Robinson Peete and her upcoming children’s book.
The meet and greet was also a launch for Storytime Village’s Kansas Literacy Festival, a three-day-long community event held in WSU and Fairmont Park that uses art as a catalyst to inspire a lifelong love of reading. The festival provides literacy enrichment to Kansas Youth through targeted programs, events, and activities that encourage early learning, family engagement, and access to books.
For more information, visit www.storytimevillage.org/kansas-literacy-festival.