"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
Hannah grew up in the northern part of the Appalachian Mountains known as the Laurel Highlands. It is a beautiful, rural part of Pennsylvania nestled in the southwestern corner above West Virginia. It is not considered the heart of Appalachia but we share aspects of the same culture, the beauty of country nostalgia and the detriments of poverty.
After teaching in West Virginia for five years, Hannah started to understand how being a kid from Appalachia leaves a mark on one’s psyche. Kids are aware of the stereotypes, the statistics, and the fact that most people outside of the region cannot find their state on a national map. They develop a low self-worth and continuously feel like an underdog having something more to prove.
These children are intelligent, hardworking, and I cannot begin to express the size of their hearts. They long for people to tell them that they do not live in the armpit of the world, that they are smart and have natural talents, and that they can overcome their obstacles to become whoever they want to be.
"I established Curious Kiddos and wrote the series Annie's Appalachian Adventures to mend hearts, open minds, and provide kids with a way to love themselves no matter the circumstances life has placed them in."
Why am I qualified to write Annie's Appalachian Adventures?
Individual Research/Reference Materials - Permission to Feel written by Marc Brackett, The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers, Best-Self written by Mike Bayer, CASEL, Ted Talks on SEL
Trainings - Annual Suicide Prevention Training, Racheal’s Challenge, Ruby Payne Poverty Training, SEL Training by the Lincoln Intermediate Unit
Coursework - Penn State University, Undergraduate - Intro to Psychology, Intro to Human Development and Family Studies, Development Psychology, Independent Studies - Coal and Coke and Kids Project where I created a website for the center designed for elementary students
West Virginia University, M. Ed. Graduate - Psychology Foundations of Learning, Cultural Diversity, Holocaust Education
Experience - taught high school Psychology course for two years, taught courses for Penn State’s Kid in College Program, designed and implemented WOKE an after school program for at risk youth girls
Collaboration - Mrs. Abby Reichart, M. Ed. who is certified as a School Counselor
and Addiction Counselor reads and reviews all books
Life Experience - I grew up in Appalachia, I have two family members who were substance abuse users, I have immediate family members who suffer from mental illness, I have lived in public housing, I understand poverty and living in a rural, remote area while I have also lived in major cities, I have experienced years of therapy
Joe is an experienced Sales and Marketing Professional and has acted as a consultant for the overall business and concept of Curious Kiddos. He comes from an Appalachian background and has a passion for kids.
"I support Curious Kiddos because I know the passion my wife Hannah has for kids regardless of their background. I also understand the struggles our youth face today. No child should be left with the hopeless feeling and they should always know there is light at the end of the tunnel."
Lisa has an array of corporate and non-profit experience including marketing, sales and fundraising. She has given her time and big picture guidance towards developing Curious Kiddos and Annie into a reality.
"I support Curious Kiddos because I love supporting anyone who has the talent and drive to make change in the world. Hannah's vision and passion is contagious! With her efforts, she will be opening minds, hearts and doors for kids and their community."
Erika N. Grimm
Erika is a Chicana artist and academic from Southern California who holds a strong lifelong passion for teaching and learning. She and her sister are the third generation of Latina women educators in their family. In California, Erika worked as a children’s art instructor and adult ESL instructor in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. Erika graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and linguistics from California State University Fullerton in 2017 and now resides in central Pennsylvania, where she is working to complete her Ph.D. in philosophy and women’s, gender, & sexuality studies from The Pennsylvania State University.
“I am very happy to contribute artwork to Annie’s Appalachian Adventures, a project which serves to fill a serious gap in mental health resources for children. My experiences in education have made clear that children and adolescents need this kind of access to strategies for coping with psychological trauma, navigating personal and community identities, and empowering themselves by building self-esteem and self-worth in the face of unique conditions of adversity.”
Chuck is a gifted artist who designed and created the first image of Annie and Maggie. His talent is obvious and evident in telling a story, evoking emotions, and orchestrating colors through art.
Tara is another gifted artist who designed and created the pyramid scene with Annie and her Mom. Thank you Tara for sharing your gift!
Sarah is a grant writer by trade focusing on addiction prevention programs within the K-12 school system. She is our dedicated site editor and provides priceless guidance.
Maria is an outstanding history teaching winning the Middle School Pennsylvania VFW Teacher of the Year Award. She has provided editing and providence throughout this process.
Abby is a dedicated elementary guidance counselor who is finishing her addiction certification. She has provided advice, expert resources, and valuable direction. Her depth of psychological knowledge, understanding of children's current issues, and support of Curious Kiddos' initiatives has been validating, prompting me to make this dream a reality.
To Be Determined
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