61 Year Old RA Disabled Woman Seeks Grant For Reading Wagon Nonprofit
by Wendy Ghannam
(Chantilly, VA, USA)
I am 61 years old. I am female and married for nearly 40 years. I am currently retired from U.S. Government Federal Service.
My background is that of executive secretary. I have also privately tutored elementary-aged young people--both careers in excess of 30 years!
I have a nerve entrapment disease bilaterally on both arms with carpal tunnel from computer usage on my federal job. I was an OWCP recipient for over 20 years.
I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis in both hands and Osteoporosis in my spine.
I also have PTSD documented with my federal employer from emotional damages due to the nerve disease in my arms many years ago.
I am currently entering into OPM sanctioned early retirement (OPM/Washington, DC).
I cannot type on a computer for long periods of time. I cannot sit for long periods of time either.
I am on Pacquinol, Folic Acid, Methotrexate, and Actinol for the spinal Osteoporosis. I also take OTCs for continuing pain during the day in my back, arms and legs.
Since retiring from federal service I have tried to find part-time work in my admin field thinking that I could feasibly work part-time, but no one is hiring me.
I feel that due to my age, extensive experience and impeccable English skills, I am being discriminated against.
I am able to tutor small children one-on-one in reading and math, but I only work one day per week.
I have a pending patent for the Reading Wagon/USA. This is my idea of a motorized vehicle running system that is akin to the old "Bookmobile" concept.
My idea is different, though. It is to have caring, concerned adults drive to various communities throughout the U.S. and sit and get American children excited about reading again… and drop the video game controllers.
I have a business plan developed if anyone is interested.
With my disability I have noticed that certain children have a difficult time learning how to read. No one is teaching them the way we all learned to read over 50 years. ago.
I want to change the statistics and I firmly believe I know how. I have Ph.D. family members in both education and psychology assisting me in this effort.
In order to begin the business start-up I need $800 for the 501(c) designation forms to go into the IRS.
After that, I would need approximately $30,000 for my first vehicle (resembling a small bus) filled with books and small chairs and beanbags for the children to sit comfortably on.
I'm probably looking at about $100,000 in order to begin salaries, lawyers, business licenses and miscellaneous items for education (e.g., dry-erase boards and puppets).
I intend to market through pre-schools, churches, synagogues, mosques and libraries, as well as area shopping centers.
I see my business model as an impetus to help get Detroit moving again making the vehicles, and to help other Americans obtain jobs as drivers/readers!
I envision my idea could fundamentally travel into each and every state in the country and that private funding would be needed to keep it afloat, which is what I would be seeking.
I also have my mission statement on file.
I feel my idea and business concept would greatly improve the literacy quotient in our country and help make the next generation competitive globally.