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Life Arts    H4'ed 9/2/15

Reaching Out To Students Through Student-Author Visits Featuring Debbie Hilbish

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Debbie Hilbish
Debbie Hilbish
(Image by Debbie Hilbish)
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At this point in our evolution as human beings, we need to question to whom we go if we want real change. We have indeed had several attempts at change. We call them revolutions. Yet, what these revolutions have brought forth is more of the same. Revolutions are revolving doors. They go nowhere!

One of the techniques the corporate owned government is using is through the dumbing down of children via the "No Child Left Behind Act." This act forced a "teach to the test" mentality that standardized kids into boxes, while working towards devolving their ability to "think outside the box." Has it been successful? It is succeeding in keeping us inside the box. It is not successful in educating readers. Only 40% of fourth graders are reading on grade level.

Hopefully, those who see the pattern are now beginning to train their children for the future. Some are doing so by teaching them to "Goose Step" in line with authority. The luckier children have parents that say, "We can't tolerate this!" More and more parents are providing home-schooling.

From a bottom-up perspective, we all need to get involved in the education of our children. To do that, WE need to empower ourselves. Otherwise, we are not being responsible to future generations. Yet, to allow you to see a major barrier, one woman said, "Hey, I'll be dead. The future of children is not my problem." Yes, this person was a mother. That's pitiful in my eyes. The indigenous folks thought out the consequences to a decision seven generations into the future. And we consider ourselves more evolved then they? I personally don't think we are the sharpest tools in the shed. A mother tigress takes more responsibility for her kittens than that particular woman would care for her children.

One person who is being responsible to our children is Debbie Hilbish. Her vision, passion and mission are to inspire students to read, write and create. She reaches out to as many people as possible to share what they do at Student Author Visits, Inc. (SAVI). Larry James, a 70+ great grandfather, artist, music composer, and author of children's books, founded SAVI. Debbie became Chairperson and Secretary at SAVI after retiring from a career with the United States Post Office, publishing books of her poetry, and hosting eight-week authors' fairs at The Reader's Oasis bookstore in Quartzsite AZ.

Debbie states that SAVI started because "America's economy began to fail in 2007 and millions of citizens are still struggling, plus the fact that the income disparity gap in our country has widened every year for at least the last twenty years has brought us to the point where it's impossible for many parents to purchase books for their children." She realizes that decreasing literacy has many more sources than poor schooling. It is the outcome of a dumbed-down culture. We--folks like Debbie and Larry of SAVI--need to step into the breach.

Larry James Teaching Children
Larry James Teaching Children
(Image by Savi Kids)
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SAVI It is a free program provided to elementary fourth grade classes and boys and girls clubs in selected areas. At the beginning of each visit, Larry introduces himself and thanks the students for inviting him. He reads the first chapter of one of the chapter books he has written and illustrated. The children then get to listen to one of the age appropriate songs on their music cd. The question and answer segment is next. Children ask good questions about how to write, illustrate, or publish a book. The program usually lasts about an hour. At the end of the visit each student receives a FREE SAVI PACK which consists of: 1 copy of the signed chapter book, 1 CD with eight age appropriate songs, and a BOOKWORM BUDDY BUTTON.

Debbie states that she does not understand the No Child Left Behind Act. While the act was supposed to mandate that every child is educated to some level, instead it just pushes all students ahead on the assembly line. Schools are not allowed to hold back a student due to not being able to read. Teachers are required to pass kids through. Larry James now includes in his program a group for high school Seniors who read below the fourth grade level!

Funding is a major issue to Larry and Debbie's program. They do not have the money for the materials to help children be able to read. Much of Debbie's time is focused on trying to raise money. Debbie is ashamed to admit that they even have to participate in the terrible practice of outsourcing, because the books they give students in the Free SAVI Pack can be published for less in China. How lame (and how telling!) is that?

Who is to blame for this outsourcing? Certainly not SAVI. Hey, they only do what is needed to feed our children's minds and bellies. They even spend time visiting supermarkets to solicit donations of juice and crackers, so the fourth graders they visit aren't distracted by their hunger from listening to the books. From this author's angle, we can't blame the union demands for decent wages and benefits; we can't blame the Chinese or the Mexican immigrants for accepting lower wages; we can only blame corporate greed. And us for allowing it.

Thus, this author states that we need to foster a different economy in which our needs are met. We don't need corporations. We certainly don't need them running our schools and dictating our educational policies. We need more bottom-up programs like SAVI. We all need to do things like donate to SAVI. (Go to

What we most need is our own creativity. We need to give our young people the tools with which to develop and empower their inborn ingenuity. To do so, we must foster a mindset that is deconditioned to the ethos and methods of corporations. Our conditioning is corporate propaganda that people have been brainwashed into.

Entering into a deconditioned state results in a drastic bottom-up change. AND, it's a lot of work. 20 years of schooling and you say you need to dump it all? Exactly. Again, I want to emphasize that bottom-up does not negate the need for top-down. If my grandson was about to run out in the street with a car approaching, I would take a top-down approach and yank his little backside back onto the curb. At the same time, as this child grows up, he should become more and more able to foster his own natural talents in serving the world and this planet.

We need to foster that. We don't need "Big Brother" watching over our grandchildren with hidden cameras or an increasing police state.

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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
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