Hello! My name is Taylor Coloka and I am Miss Clovis 2015! Along with the helpful scholarship opportunities the Miss America Organization offers, the main reason I chose to run for Miss Clovis 2015 was to speak to the community on behalf of my platform and give children the gift of literacy. I appreciate being able to use my title to voice children’s needs. I believe that education is the key to a peaceful and powerful nation. The Miss America Organization is parallel with what I believe, as its purpose is to support women’s academic endeavors. I am studying to become an elementary school teacher and, eventually, a principal or superintendent of a school district. I believe I have an ability to connect with children and help them achieve their goals. In the near future, I plan to write and publish my own children’s book that kids can relate to and find themselves in.
I remember being read to as a young child at home and in school. I couldn't wait until I was able to read books like my mom and my teacher could! Some children have no one to read them stories. Their imagination is not sparked like mine was. However, we can change that! This is why I dedicate myself to reading to children often as well as getting them books to discover for themselves. During the previous holiday season, I helped start the library at the Autism Center at Fresno State University for children 18 months to 6 years of age. I currently am scheduled to read to fifteen classrooms in the next month. In addition, I am in the process of planning a Children’s Book Festival, where children will be able to listen to stories, meet many award-winning authors and learn that reading is fun! All of the proceeds from this event will go towards the Marjaree Mason Center, which provides emergency and longer-term Safe Housing, along with a wide variety of support services for victims of domestic violence in Fresno County. Books can be a positive escape for children, as well as a great way to reconnect with loved ones.
I work with the nonprofit, First Book, to distribute books and educational resources to programs and schools in my community. First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis. I do many classroom read-alouds to emphasize the importance of reading for children. Increasing the number of books available to students through book borrowing, reading with others, and voluntary reading creates a positive change and an overall improvement in basic literary skills. Many people take the opportunity to have an education for granted. It is our job, as literates, to create that opportunity for children who may not be as fortunate. We must pass along what we have been able to learn and ensure that children receive the books they need to have successful futures.