Press Releases

Press Releases


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | August 19, 2017

Sports Journalist Turns His Love of Writing into a Children’s Book

Adults aren’t the only ones looking for a good read. 

John Butler is a published sports journalist with Comcast, the third largest media company in the world. He’s taken his passion for writing and has decided to fill a void for children’s books that give young boys of color a voice. The recently published book, ‘Chase Does It All,’ is the first in a series of titles that will eliminate that absence.

John is committed to providing children ages six and under with a book that will start them on the journey of exploring literacy.

Parents who have read ‘Chase Does It All’ have expressed great enthusiasm for the project and its ability to accurately reflect the image of minority children. “This is the first book I’ve read to my twin boys in almost a year that they actually love. Between the story itself and the illustrations it really grasps their attention. ” – Philadelphia native Loraine Thompson.

John credits his drive and passion to witness this project become a great success to the birth of his godson Chase. It is his hope that through the example of hardwork and dedication required to publish a book, Chase will grow up realizing he really can do it all.

Please contact for additional details, review copies, or photos.

John W. Butler III Email: Phone: 215-219-5862


Early Childhood Literacy and Parent Engagement Program to Serve 2,000 Children Under Five Years Old: Partnership Brings Evidence-Based Literacy Programming and Free Books to Underserved New York City Children and Parents 

New York, NY – August 23, 2017 – 501(c)(3) nonprofit Word Rebel announces its third year of partnership with subsidized childcare centers to promote early childhood literacy, parent engagement and home libraries. For the third year in a row, Word Rebel will reach 2,000 children under five enrolled in 30 partnering childcare centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The early childhood literacy program includes one annual distribution of free books for every enrolled child, and one year of weekly literacy emails and evidence-based Ready4K text messages for every enrolled parent. Every week for a year, parents will receive eBooks and easy, effective strategies proven to increase parent-child literacy engagement and child literacy scores.

“We are thrilled to partner with 30 childcare centers on this Early Childhood Literacy program to ensure all children receive the high quality home literacy instruction and educationally enriching childcare programming they need to master the preschool literacy skills vital for K – 12 achievement,” says Word Rebel’s Executive Director Lauren Martin.

Word Rebel’s Early Childhood Literacy Program serves 2,000 children in some of New York City’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, and is made possible thanks to private donors, fundraisers, the Shaughnessy Family Foundation, Ready4K text messaging program and 30 subsidized childcare partners serving children living below the poverty line.


Word Rebel is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides high quality books and early childhood literacy programming to families of children under five. Since 2015, Word Rebel has partnered with 30 subsidized childcare centers to serve 2,000 children living below the poverty line in New York City. Founded by Special Education Curriculum Writer and Educator, Lauren Martin, the mission of Word Rebel is to close the preschool readiness gap and subsequent achievement gap in education by connecting parents of young children to the resources they need to read aloud and teach vocabulary from birth.

CONTACT: Lauren Martin, Executive Director, Word Rebel,



New York, NY, January 3, 2017 – Word Rebel received a grant from The Shaughnessy Family Foundation at the end of the 2015 and 2016 fiscal year to provide a total of 700 books to children living in the highest-poverty neighborhoods in New York City. The Shaughnessy Family Foundation’s ongoing support will make it possible for Word Rebel to strategically reallocate resources and expand to 10 new NYCHA childcare partners in 2017. By partnering with a total of 30 childcare centers, Word Rebel can continue to empower low-income families to teach their children reading and vocabulary skills from birth to preschool. Thanks largely in part to Ellen Martin and Joseph Shaughnessy, Word Rebel will be able to provide brand new books and literacy programming to 2,000 at-risk children for the third year in a row.


“Word Rebel is so grateful to receive the Shaughnessy Family Foundation Grant in both 2015 and 2016, “said Word Rebel Executive Director, Lauren Martin. “Their support will allow us to serve 2,000 children for three consecutive years from 2015 – 2017.”

CONTACT: Lauren Martin, Executive Director, Word Rebel,



New York, NY, November 22, 2016 – Word Rebel is joining Global Giving’s 50% matching campaign for #GivingTuesday, a global giving movement that has been driven by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. Since its founding in 2012, millions of people have come together to support and champion the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live.

Join Word Rebel on #GivingTuesday to ensure all children start preschool with an equal opportunity to succeed. Choose Word Rebel as your tax-deductible year-end gift and every $30 donation will provide 15 book and ongoing literacy instruction to a child in need:

After two days for getting deals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday –#GivingTuesday is a day for giving back. In dozens of towns, cities, regions and states from Alaska to Maine, and Charlotte NC to Dallas TX, people are embracing this day as an opportunity to raise money for local nonprofits, schools and arts organizations; run food and clothing drives; teach children about philanthropy; encourage acts of kindness; collaborate with their neighbors; and celebrate generosity.

In 2015, nonprofits raised more than $117 million online on #GivingTuesday to help make the world a better place in countless ways. Much more was generated offline and through donations of time and other resources. People participated in #GivingTuesday activities in 71 countries around the globe last year, and this year, participating countries include Australia, Brazil, Kenya, Slovenia, Tanzania, the UK and more.

“Since our first full year of programming in 2015, we have donated 5,500 books to children living in the highest poverty neighborhoods in New York City. Last year’s programming was possible because of Global Giving’s #GivingTuesday matching campaign,” said Word Rebel Executive Director, Lauren Martin. “We hope to replicate donor enthusiasm in 2016 to ensure the strength of our 2017 programs. We donate books through day care partners who exclusively serve children living in poverty. Many of our partners are located in the NYCHA housing projects. One of our partners, Sheltering Arms, serves 45 children in the Jacob Riis Housing Projects in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. In Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, we are partnered with both of the BKSNY childcare centers serving the 125 children under 4 who live in the Sumner Housing Projects. In Harlem’s Drew Hamilton Housing projects, our Children’s Aid Society partner serves 80 children. One of our South Bronx partners, H.E.L.P. provides free temporary housing and childcare to lessen the trauma of homelessness for 30 children under 5 years old. These are just 5 of our 30+ dedicated partners who help distribute books and early childhood literacy instruction. In addition to book donations, we provide ongoing literacy support through our weekly Prep4Prek text. Our partner, at the NYCHA’s Wald childcare center, shared that learning how to teach their children vocabulary and reading skills while walking down the street or sitting on the subway has had a huge impact on parents with little to no free time. Parents are empowered to commit to one small action a day to make a big difference in their child’s future.”

Those who are interested in joining Word Rebel’s #GivingTuesday initiative can donate as little as $3 to provide 1 book and 1 year of weekly literacy instruction to an underserved child in one of fifty high poverty communities in Brooklyn, Manhattan or the Bronx. Donate on #GivingTuesday and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match 50% of your donation as part of the #MatchAMillion campaign on Global Giving. Your 50% matched gift means every $30 donation provides 15 books to children in need:

About #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a movement, built by people around the world, to celebrate giving of all kinds. It is celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), Black Friday and Cyber Monday; this year it falls on November 29, 2016. This movement is the result of the collective power of a unique blend of partners—nonprofits large and small; businesses and corporations; schools and universities; civic campaigns in cities, states and regions; and families and individuals—to inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities and contribute in countless ways to the causes they believe in. Everyone has something to give.

CONTACT: Lauren Martin, Executive Director, Word Rebel, 



New York, NY, November 18, 2016 – Word Rebel received a grant from bestselling author James Patterson to build 20 libraries in day cares serving 1,000 children in low-income housing projects. In addition, Scholastic Reading Club matched each dollar of Patterson’s donation with “bonus points” for Word Rebel to choose even more books and classroom materials. Word Rebel was selected amongst thousands of grant applicants. To learn more, listen to Patterson’s exclusive interview about the critical need for school libraries on the “Scholastic Reads” podcast:

James Patterson, in partnership with Scholastic Reading Club, pledged $1.75 million to save school libraries nationwide in the second installment of his School Library Campaign. As part of an ongoing effort to keep books and reading a number one priority in the United States, selected school libraries will be receiving grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Since the grant program’s launch in 2015, Patterson has donated $3.5 million to school libraries nationwide, with all funds personally donated by Patterson.

“Word Rebel is honored to receive the Patterson Partnership Grant,” said Word Rebel Executive Director, Lauren Martin. “Since our goal is to fight the cycle of poverty at its source, our programs address one simple reality: The most accurate predictor of whether or not a child will graduate from high school is the number of words they know when they start preschool. This is true regardless of parent income, parent education, environmental factors or access to quality schools. We empower parents, with limited time and resources, to close the preschool vocabulary gap and subsequent achievement gap. Thanks to the generosity of James Patterson, we will deliver 1,000 high-quality books to 20 day cares serving high poverty communities. To maximize our impact, parents at all 20 day cares will receive our weekly email-text service. Every week, parents will receive eBooks and questioning strategies to easily teach vocabulary and reading skills on city sidewalks or public transportation. Our programs remove the barriers that prevent low-income families from prioritizing early childhood literacy. We are proud to support James Patterson’s commitment to help more children access high-quality books and an equal opportunity to succeed.”

In the first-ever partnership of its kind, Patterson joined Scholastic Reading Club to offer 800,000 educators an opportunity to apply. Grant applicants across the country were asked to share their story, including “great ideas to help create a brighter future.” James Patterson personally read and selected the winning recipients of the grants. Selected recipients are now using funds to purchase books, add bookshelves, and expand their programming. The full list of grant recipients is available online at

CONTACT: Lauren Martin, Executive Director, Word Rebel,