As a former classroom teacher, Betty Mohlenbrock has always been committed to improving children’s lives. When she retired after growing a nonprofit serving children of military families to an international level, Betty knew her commitment had to continue. In 2010, she came out of retirement to establish Reading Legacies, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering supportive relationships for at-risk teens and children who have incarcerated parents through the simple act of reading aloud together. By helping to maintain the bonds between children and their incarcerated parents, Reading Legacies works to address the devastating impact of incarceration on children, families and communities. In 2017, Reading Legacies facilitated 8,000 read-aloud experiences among children, teens and other family members participating in its programs. As a result of these read-aloud experiences, the families of children who have participated say that 73 percent of children are enjoying reading more and that nearly 70 percent of them are communicating more with their parents. Every teen who has volunteered with Reading Legacies says that the program strengthened their leadership skills, and 87 percent report an increase in self-confidence. Of the incarcerated parents who have participated, 94 percent have seen a boost in morale and feel more connected to their children at home.
Being a Women of Worth means being in a position to give people hope, especially if they haven’t had a reason to be hopeful for a long time.