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Serve the Children: Rock-bottom Prices Create Nonfinancial Rewards

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After my wife, Deborah, and I
published How to
Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting the Five Critical Needs of Children
. . . And Parents Too!
in December 1999, we spoke to hundreds of
people. Inspired by their apparent hunger for the information, our mission
became to get the book in the hands of as many adults who affect children’s
lives as we could. This led to our establishing a noncommercial project,
offering the book at the cost of printing, delivery, and tax—that is,
between $1 and $2.10 per copy, depending on the quantity ordered (the minimum
purchase is one case, which has 76 books). To date, we have distributed more
than 215,000 copies.

 

Initially, we focused on schools
because that’s where parents, teachers, and children come together. We had a
vision of parents and teachers working individually and together to create
positive home and school environments where children’s critical emotional needs
would be met. Although our pricing structure precludes financial gain, we feel
richly rewarded by the positive response to the book and by the thought of what
could result from an entire parent-teacher school community paying attention to
children’s emotional needs year after year.

 

Soon after the work with schools
began, we received a steady flow of requests for speaking engagements and book
orders from a wide variety of organizations concerned with the well-being of
children. In line with our mission, we charge no fees for speaking, consulting,
workshops, or additional teaching materials that we develop. Also, we provide
schools with a guide for using the book with parents of children in preschools
and grades K–12.

 

Where the 215,000 Copies
Went

 

Sales and distribution continue to
grow across ethnic, religious, cultural, socioeconomic, and age groups, fueled
entirely by word of mouth. Schools and colleges have purchased about 50 percent
of the copies now in circulation. One large Los Angeles high school (3,000 students)
bought 5,000 books to distribute to parents, teachers, school employees, and
some junior and senior students, who attend our seminars, read the book, write
book reports, and are encouraged to discuss the material with their parents.

 

The other 50 percent have been
distributed to childcare-provider and child-advocate institutions, peri- and
prenatal departments of hospitals, children’s hospitals, organizations that
prevent child abuse, and foster care and community parenting-education programs
for free distribution to parents and professionals working with them. One
perinatal institution purchased 60,000 copies and is distributing them to 19
hospitals, where they are given to new parents and used in parent-education
classes.

 

The book has now been published in
Spanish (Cómo criar
niños emocionalmente sanos
) by Manual Moderno Publishers in
Mexico City, and it will be published this year in Hungary and Israel. Given
the popularity of the book and the price at which we make it available, our
vision has expanded. Creating a positive atmosphere in which people interact in
ways that make everyone feel respected, important, accepted, included, and
secure can be a powerful force for developing emotionally healthy and
high-achieving children, families, and schools—our own and those of
others. And, who knows, if enough of us get involved, we might just change the
world.

 

Gerald Newmark, Ph.D., is a
parent, educator, and researcher who has worked in the area of human relations
for more than 30 years. He is the author of <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>This School Belongs to You and Me
and
has received a presidential citation for his work in education. For more
information, contact Deborah Newmark, Director, Children’s Project, by phone
(818/708-12440), fax (818/345-3249); or email (nmipub@earthlink.net).

 

 

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