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A Changemaker and a Friend for Life: Meet Petula Gay, Director of the Friends of Crown Heights

Petula Gay, the Director of the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center (FOCH) in Staten Island, is more than a friend to Literacy Inc. (LINC). She is a true literacy leader and advocate. Petula has been a LINC Very Involved Parent (VIP) since 2022 and in that short time she has encouraged five of her staff to also become VIPs.

The Friends of Crown Heights is a provider of group day care, universal pre-Kindergarten and after-school programs for 3 and 4 year olds, and has been a long-time partner of LINC. We were thrilled to introduce one of our new workshops, Print Concepts to FOCH this spring.

"LINC is an organization that we worked with in the past. I was excited when they came into our school community and reintroduced the program with the additional changes and enhancements. I am very interested in any program that LINC offers to grow my practice as an educator and my vision to raise literacy in young children. I appreciate the print concepts workshop because it gives families as well as VIPs the tools they need to help children meet part of their phonological awareness goals. It is a sort of decoding skill.”

When asked what inspired her to become a VIP, Petula replied, “Becoming a VIP empowers us to represent our organization and gives us the credibility to go into the community and promote the importance of introducing literacy skills at an early age.”

Parents are key players and our most valuable partners. By focusing on developing their skills, competencies, and leadership, we help ensure parents become advocates for their own children and claim their place as changemakers in the community. We are eternally grateful to Petula and to all of our VIPs for spreading the power and the joy of reading.

Do you know someone who would make a great changemaker in your community? Share Petula’s words with them:

“I would say to someone interested in becoming a VIP it is so crucial in stamping out illiteracy, one child, one family at a time. As a VIP you get the opportunity to transform your community through literacy and language, through teaching young children. Since literacy and language skills are the gateway to all learning, a literacy leader sets a child up for success in academia."

To start making changes in your community and learn more about LINC’s latest VIP workshops, please contact Wilkarlys Zaman, VIP Manager, at or 212-620-5462, ext.142.


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