Cherese “Talena Skye” Bracey is an early childhood educator, parent consultant, author, event planner, songwriter, voice-over artist, and Christian music artist, to name a few of many hats she wears. Her degree, business credentials, and 25-plus years of experience in early childhood education gave her the foundation in her career to shape young minds in various learning settings. She loves helping new parents grow as their child’s first teachers and values her love of making a difference in their lives. A graduate of Rising Tide Capital Community Business Academy and licensed certified Early Childhood professional, Cherese is dedicated to helping our most vulnerable children as the founder and CEO of her grassroots program, Reading Reaps Rewards Early Childhood Enrichment Program.
Discovering a need to help children develop a “want” for reading and learning, Cherese has reached many children as well as those challenged in the learning process. The program was created to help children become happy and eager learners with the goal of helping them reach important developmental milestones. Her love of music and reading sparked an interest in becoming a licensed Kindermusik Instructor. Kindermusik is a method of early childhood education and the most widely recognized music and movement program in the country.
Christina: What is your SwagHer? What makes Cherese, Cherese?
Cherese: Walking in God-fidence, the confidence that God loves me and is for me as I use my gifts and talents in teaching, creating, mentoring, and advocating for children are a few hats I wear. Writing songs and using my voice to promote the Kingdom of God through Gospel Rap and spoken word as “Talena Skye” is my Godly Swag.
Christina: Please tell us a little bit about Reading Reaps Rewards Early Childhood Enrichment Program.
Cherese: When I was a child, storytime would be my escape from hard times by allowing me to create a world away from my own, as I would let my imagination soar while reading my favorite storybook. Reading Reaps Rewards Early Childhood Enrichment Program was birthed from remembering those times as I decided to develop a program to promote the love of reading for young children. My program offers fun virtual and in-person enrichment classes created to teach the whole child with a foundation of reading. “Children learn best when learning is fun!” The program birthed its philanthropic initiative since 2005 called The Reesie Reader & Bookie Literacy Club.
The club gives the gift of fun storytimes while helping to give brand-new storybooks to children who need them the most. Our main focus is children in foster care centers and programs that serve our most vulnerable children. Our club’s mission is “Helping Children to Make Books Their Friends!” I created role model characters and mascots for my program “Reesie Reader & Bookie,” which inspired the children’s books, “Story Time Friends, The Case of the Withering Books, & Reesie Reader Little Entrepreneur.” The books are earlier collectors editions which will soon have revised editions that are currently in production. Also, new added storylines and more vibrant colors releasing soon. Our literacy t-shirt brand helps put books into the hands of children we serve through a portion of proceeds from every sale that can be found on my website.
Christina: Why did you choose to become an educator?
Cherese: I chose to become an educator because I have a passion and love for helping children to develop cognitively, socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. When a child grows from one level to the next with my help, it is a reward that is invaluable. I truly believe it is my God-given gift to teach children that I was made to bring smiles to little faces. My mission is helping them become the best they can be.
Christina: What are some tips you can give future educators?
Cherese: Aspiring early childhood educators should have a passion for wanting to see children excel. Teaching at times can be tough, but if you truly love what you do, you will never work a day in your life! Never give up on a child you know is struggling emotionally in learning. It is through your love, patience, and making learning fun that will help them follow through and develop the confidence needed to succeed.
Christina: What is one of your favorite things about being a Kindermusik Instructor?
Cherese: Kindermusik is a national early childhood music enrichment program that teaches music on a developmental level. I love being an educator and business owner of Kindermusik programs because It helps me connect my favorite vehicles of teaching through reading and music. My passion for this have allowed me to expand my business by offering Kindermusik as an additional program to help children and families.
Christina: Do you have any upcoming events or projects you would like to share?
Cherese: I am working on a new children’s book along with the revised special editions of previously published works coming soon. I am working to promote summer reading initiatives with community officials in many areas, to plan summer “Book-nics”(picnics with books.) In various areas. Book-nics are summer storytime picnic events to encourage children to keep their learning alive during the summer break.
Christina: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Cherese: If you would like to support my mission by participating in my program’s T-shirt fundraiser or check for updates, please visit http://www.readingreapsrewards.org.
Stay tuned for my upcoming Podcast Truth Tea with Talena Skye- “Spilling the Tea from a Godly Perspective”
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