As someone who worked in bookstores since she was 16, Megan Garbe understands the power of books to change hearts and minds. As an adoptive mom, Megan also understands the need to educate kids about people who are different from them, who come from different places and who have different stories to tell. Megan is proud to leverage her background in public relations to help tell the incredible story of Harper's Corner Foundation to people inside and outside the Central Ohio community.
I volunteer for Harper’s Corner because if I would have had access to these kinds of books when I was a child I am certain growing up would not have been scary, conflicting and difficult. Being bullied and adults saying, “Well, look at how you act and dress — what do you expect?” was like living in a nightmare. No one would help me and I knew I was a good person — I wish I had these books to justify it to myself.
As a mom of two young girls and a lawyer in this community, social justice and equality are important to me and so is using my resources to help. I understand my girls - and all the other young people in our community - are our future. When I saw what Harper’s Corner wanted to do, I jumped at the chance to help them get a solid legal foundation to grow from. I’m very impressed by their focus, drive and energy to make this concept come to life.
My name is Kristen Johnson and my husband, Terry, and I have been blessed with three amazing boys. They are our pride and joy. Professionally, I have the unique opportunity to work in several school settings, as a substitute teacher, and have learned how important it is to cultivate a culture of diversity, compassion and inclusion. As a mother of three beautiful biracial boys and an educator in elementary schools in various communities, I was thrilled to be introduced to Harper’s Corner through Kat DePizzo. The mission and vision are very near and dear to me both personally and professionally.
Most often the way into a child’s mind and heart is through a book. Education is so very important in the fight against social injustices by raising conscious kids. Enter Harper’s Corner and the opportunities for positive change are endless. With a background in nonprofit management, I was honored to have worked closely with Julia and Kat in developing the organizations 501c3 status. Harper’s Corner will no doubt expand minds and grow hearts, as we all work together to build a more inclusive and socially just community.
I'm a singer/songwriter from Columbus, OH, living in Los Angeles and I'm proud to be a volunteer for Harper's Corner. While our nation's past is plagued with inequality and misrepresentation for people of color, I believe that children are the gateway to a brighter future. I volunteer for Harper's Corner because it's mission takes direct action to bring diversity and representation to the place in our communities where we need it the most, our youth. If we want to influence the voice of the future, it starts by coloring in the worlds of our children at home and at school.
Books shaped my childhood. They gave me a safe space, brought laughter on sad days, provided adventure when I needed it most. As I grew up they kept challenging and inspiring me. As a new mom, I recognize the words I use to raise a strong, resilient daughter matter. Ultimately, I want her world to reflect the joy she finds in the pages of the books she will come to love. I want her reality to be reflective of the hope she finds in stories. Harper's Corner is creating that kind of world. As a volunteer, I'm grateful not only to generate hope but also to be part of change. @mccainmecrazy
I volunteered because it’s about helping all kids hear that they matter and they are important.
Growing up, I read everything that I could get my hands on. At one point, I started on a shelf in the library and consecutively worked my way through all the shelves in the library. This sparked imagination and opened worlds! I am very happy to support Harper’s Corner with strategic design and production of marketing materials that help create awareness and engage today’s kids in opening worlds through reading.
Executive Advisory Council
I grew up an avid reader and feel that the books I read truly shaped my childhood, my view of the world, and all its possibilities. As a mom of two young children, I feel that the importance of teaching empathy, curiosity, tolerance, and diversity through the books we share with our children cannot be overstated. The work and mission of Harper's Corner is so inspiring and crucial, and I am so thankful to be a part of it.
Illustrator & Artist
Talisa is an Afro-Latina artist and illustrator from Dominican Republic.
She grew up in Miami, FL until moving to New York City for college. She currently resides in Queens, and creates custom art and illustrations for people and brands alike who want to gift, share and create unique and colorful experiences with their clients. She believes that as an artist it’s important to not only create as a form of release, but to also use the gift she’s been given to create messages of positivity and stand up visually for the things she’s most passionate about. She loves to create bold, modern, feminine, and earthy art and illustrations with a sense of female empowerment. Her work uses vibrant colors and mixes prints and textures for added depth. No matter how big or small a project may be, her biggest drive is collaborating with other creatives and people to create something unique and beautiful.
Illustrator & Artist
Kate is a designer and illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design and a minor in Business Leadership, she moved to New York City to pursue her dreams. Kate started her career in the fashion industry working at a small junior’s clothing label and later moving on to a designer position at Victoria’s Secret PINK.
Kate is currently working on pursuing her own creative interests by starting her own Etsy business and working on freelance illustration projects. In addition to her love for design, Kate is a big time animal lover. In her free time she loves to draw, listen to true crime podcasts and hang out with her pups.
Executive Advisory Council
I am a teacher in the Program for Young Children at the Columbus School for Girls. I feel fortunate to be in a profession where I am surrounded by two of my favorite things: children and children’s books! I have loved children’s books for decades, even before I became a teacher or mother. Books are important to all of us, but in my opinion they are especially important to young children, as they have the power to shape and inspire the adults that those children will become.
I believe that books should offer beautiful images, meaningful words, and representation of everyone! Representation matters! I see the impact in my own classroom. For the individual representation is identity, empowerment, and belonging. For the community representation is inclusion, the celebration of diversity, and the potential for being better together. In education representation offers multiple perspectives and a shared narrative which enables us to understand, think and do better.
Getting books into as many classrooms as possible is the important work Harper’s Corner is doing. I am honored to be involved with this mission, and to contribute to the impact it will have on the hearts and minds of young people, and ultimately, the world we all live in.
Executive Advisory Council
Reading is like breathing to Shelley. She can’t live without it. From a young age, Shelley was captivated by how books transported readers to different places. Whether travelling back in time or into the future, Shelley was most inspired when the stories allowed her to walk in someone else’s shoes.
For Shelley, Harper’s Corner Books ensures accessibility to stories that impact and change lives while cultivating empathy and growing kindness. Shelley truly believes in creating systems that invest in people. This is why she is deeply inspired by Harper’s Corner Books and dedicated to its success.
You can find Shelley sharing her enthusiasm for reading and learning with the students at Jonathan Alder Local Schools where she is a Junior High and Middle School librarian.