Frederick Douglass once said, "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."
Sadly, according to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, there are 32 million adults in the United States who can not read. We want to change this starting with kids from the womb up.
We understand that kids are only going to read books that interest them so we choose new books that kids want to read. We also know that representation matters, thus we are clear about ensuring some of our books are written by people of color and feature people of color, various backgrounds and cultures. The mission of Forever Free Books is to ensure each child falls in love with reading.
Service-connected disabled veteran, Tanya Barnett is the co-founder of The Vet Space, a holistic resource center dedicated to the health, wellness, and healing of our nation’s veterans. She is a Charles County Maryland Veterans Affairs Commissioner and works with female veterans to ensure they receive the benefits they earned. Tanya is a TEDx and lifestyle empowerment speaker as well as the Award-Winning Author of Being a Wife Just Got Real.
Tanya is a 2018 N.A.A.C.P. Hall of Famer and the 2016 Charles County Citizen of the Year for the work of her nonprofit, Forever Free Books.
She has been featured in OWNTv, Essence Magazine, Huffington Post, Today Show, Tom Joyner Morning Show, TEDx, Johns Hopkins University, NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus, Blacks in Government, and FBI, EPA, etc. She’s a 2x triathlete and 2x marathoner, historical fiction lover, wife, mom and GLAM-ma.
Donald F Barnett III
Donald F Barnett III is a disabled US Army veteran, male relationship expert and empowerment speaker. Don uses comedy and his real life experiences to speak this truth about marriage, parenting, family and being a Black Man in the 21st century.
He is a lifetime member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated. Don is affectionately known in his community as Coach Don to the kids he has coached in soccer and football. He mentors middle school boys in the life skills they will need as well as exposes them to cultural and fun activities.
Don is a 2019 Black Enterprise Modern Man of Distinction due to the work of Forever Free Books. He's the author of Manhood on the Line. He has been featured on OWNTV, Essence Magazine, Great Day Washington and Congressional Black Caucus.
Don is a husband, father and loving grandfather.
Social media IG: @DonBarnettIII
Lara Figures is a community advocate who is committed to building disadvantaged communities. She served as an Education & Scholarship Committee Chair for Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc., assisting with the community in remediating the youths' academic gaps and unshackling their hidden potential.
Lara works to invigorate our youth by developing seminars, workshops, and other learning opportunities. She has a bachelor's degree from University of Maryland University College.
Ruth Walker, a US Marine Corps Veteran, is currently retired. Her years of work history included working for several government contracting companies.
Ruth has been an avid reader since a young child. Her love for books stemmed from watching her mother read the Bible. She instilled in her children not only a love of reading but comprehension as well by having them write book reports over their summer vacations. Her favorite line to them whenever they encountered a word they did not know was “look it up”.
Ruth and her devoted husband, Rodney, have been happily married for 48 years and they are the proud parents of 3 adult children, 8 wonderful grandchildren and 1 great-grandson. She and her husband have devoted much of their lives being of service to others. They were foster care parents for many years to children that ranged in ages from 2 to 10 years of age.
Since retiring Ruth devotes a great deal of her time to volunteering her services especially to senior citizens in her community. She is also a mentor with the NCHS Alumni Mentoring Program at the local high school. She regularly visits the local Nursing Home just to give the elderly a smile and a hug.
Ruth has a love in her heart for serving others and is especially an advocate for children and senior citizens. She believes that everyone’s purpose in life is to have a willing spirit to help others.