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  • Writer's pictureLucas Blanco

Ingrid Holguin - Empowering Community in Hillsborough County through the Family Reading Time

In every community, there are individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes, making a significant impact on the lives of others. In Hillsborough County, Florida, one such inspiring figure is Ingrid Holguin, our Academic Achievers Coordinator. Through her dedication and passion, Ingrid has made the Family Reading Time event a reality, enriching the lives of families and promoting literacy throughout the community.


Ingrid in her first Family Reading Time
Ingrid in her first Family Reading Time

Ingrid Holguin is not just a coordinator; she is a catalyst for change in the lives of countless individuals. Her journey in the field of education began with a fervent desire to empower others through knowledge and literacy. With years of experience working in educational programs all over the world, Ingrid discovered her true calling: making a difference in the lives of young minds and their families.


"I knew coming back to the States what kind of company and environment that I wanted to be a part of," Ingrid reflects." I knew it had to value teamwork, education, individuality, and creativity." It took some time to find this gem in ReDefiners, an organization that aligned with her vision and values. Starting as an English and Spanish teacher part-time, Ingrid delved into the various programs ReDefiners offered and familiarized herself with the organization's inner workings.


Her diverse background in teaching, writing, and communications presented a unique challenge to her supervisors. However, they recognized the immense potential she brought to the table and came to a consensus: to create a new role that would allow Ingrid to leverage all her skills and passion. Thus, she became the Academic Achievers Program Coordinator, a position that would become the foundation for the transformative Family Reading Time events.


Ingrid's journey to creating "Family Reading Time" was sparked by her own love for books. Growing up in a one-parent household, she sought solace and adventure within the pages of books. As she recalls, "Reading was my escape. It was my safe haven, my transportation to different worlds and different cultures." Ingrid's desire to share the wonders of reading with others became the cornerstone of the Family Reading Time. “It is my hope these events will help other kiddos in our community explore the world through reading and understand the importance that the written word has in our lives,” she envisions.


Empowering Communities through the Family Reading Time


The Family Reading Time has become a cherished tradition in Hillsborough County, and it is all thanks to Ingrid's unwavering commitment and resourcefulness. The event serves as a bridge that connects families, educators, and the community in a nurturing and supportive environment.


Through the Family Reading Time, Ingrid has transformed the way families engage with literature and has created a space for authentic connections and shared experiences. The event not only celebrates the joy of reading but also emphasizes the importance of family bonds, cultural diversity, and the power of imagination.


Ingrid leading one of the reading activities during the Family Reading Time
Ingrid leading one of the reading activities during the Family Reading Time

The Academic Achievers program, designed to help children read at their corresponding grade level and develop critical thinking skills, finds a natural connection with the Family Reading Time. Ingrid understands that once children master reading and critical thinking, they gain confidence and a deeper understanding of the world around them. Through the Family Reading Time, she offers families an opportunity to share in the joy of reading, reinforcing the foundations laid by the Academic Achievers program.


The success of the Family Reading Time lies in Ingrid's expert curation of books and activities. "The books for the literacy events have to meet a certain criteria," she explains. Culturally diverse, written by minority authors, and visually captivating, these carefully selected books resonate with families and spark meaningful discussions. For example, the upcoming event will feature La Frontera: My Journey With Papa, a story of immigration that addresses current community issues. Ingrid's thoughtful approach empowers families to explore their emotions and thoughts, fostering deeper connections.


Ingrid's Approach and Impact


Ingrid's approach to organizing the Family Reading Time is a testament to her exceptional skills as a community leader. She brings together local partners, sponsors, and volunteers, forming a united force dedicated to promoting literacy and creating memorable experiences for families.


Ingrid expresses deep gratitude, saying, “we would not be able to host this event at all without the support of our partners and sponsors. Their support allows us to provide books to all the families, to provide food during the event, and to help us pay for the materials for the activities.”


Her genuine passion for education shines through every aspect of the event. From selecting captivating books to curating engaging activities, Ingrid ensures that each Family Reading Time is a unique, enriching and memorable experience for all attending families. “We are so grateful that this event has resonated with so many in our community and thanks to our supporters, we are able to continue to provide this wonderful time to the families that attend,” Ingrid emphasizes.


Ingrid giving a graduation certificate to a student

Born in New York and raised in the Dominican Republic, Ingrid's life journey was shaped by her diverse experiences and a passion for education. “Once here, I had to learn all about American culture, the language, and so forth,” she recalls. “I am so grateful for all of the wonderful teachers I have had in my life, because I do not know where I’d be today if it weren’t for them. Having to learn all of that took some community effort. Let’s just say that it was not easy.” From journalism to technical and professional writing, teaching in South Korea, and supporting educational initiatives in Congo, Ingrid's multifaceted background led her to her current role as the Academic Achievers Coordinator.


Heartwarming Moments for a Promising Future


One of Ingrid’s fondest memories from past editions of the event was the introduction of group reading. “I started to designate a time in the agenda for everyone to read the story together as a group,” she shares, “and the first time we tried it, it brought me to tears. It was just so beautiful seeing and hearing all of the parents and kiddos come together in unison like that.” Moments like these exemplify the magic of the Family Reading Time!


Moreover, Ingrid’s vision for this event is a bright one. As the event has grown, a new location has been secured, offering even more families the opportunity to participate. Ingrid envisions expanding the program beyond Hillsborough County, hosting it monthly, and reaching more families in need of this enriching experience.


Graduates from the Academic Achievers Program

Ingrid Holguin's dedication to empowering communities through the Family Reading Time event has sparked a love for reading in young hearts and strengthened family bonds. Her visionary leadership, combined with community support, has turned the event into a cherished tradition that continues to flourish. She has created a lasting impact on families, fostering a love for reading, learning, and togetherness. As we celebrate Ingrid's commitment to education and the joy of reading, we eagerly anticipate the transformative impact that the Family Reading Time will continue to bring to families across Tampa.


As we look to the future, we are excited to see the continued growth of the Family Reading Time under Ingrid's guidance, and we wholeheartedly celebrate her role as a driving force for positive change in Hillsborough’s educational landscape.

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