News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 16, 2014

The places you’ll go

Pros tell students to dream big

TERRE HAUTE — One newly released book is inspiring Wabash Valley kids to dream big.

Whether it’s a career as a veterinarian, website designer or meteorologist, the book titled, “One Day I Could Be …: Careers in the Wabash Valley” tells kids that “one day you can be whatever you want.”

Written by a first-time children’s book author and local resident, Ann Ryan, the colorful, interactive, read-aloud children’s book describes 14 career choices in the Wabash Valley, featuring area professionals.

Dr. Beth Brown, a veterinarian who owns Brown Veterinary Hospital, was one of the professionals featured in the book.

“I’ve always loved animals,” Brown told the Tribune-Star.

This love for animals combined with her desire to help animals and their two-legged companions were among her reasons for becoming a veterinarian.

“It’s a lot of fun and hard work. And it’s something different every day,” Brown said.

And one fun aspect of the job is described in the book.

“Being a doctor for animals is like being a detective. Since my patients can’t tell me what hurts, I look for clues to learn what is making them sick,” she says in the book.

Each career is described in a two-page spread and includes a photo of the professional while doing an activity in their line of work and a short story of what they like about that career. After each story, the book offers suggestions for other careers similar to the one described.

“Find something that makes you happy. For me, veterinarian medicine does that,” Brown said of her message to kids.

But more than telling kids that they can be whatever they decide, the book is also sending a message that they can be that professional right here in the Wabash Valley.

Ryan said those involved with the book “really wanted to plant seeds in the minds” of children and parents and tell them all of the great careers available in the Valley.

One of the goals was to inspire kids to stay in the area and remind them that they can make a good living, be successful and serve this community, Ryan said.

“We wanted to plant those seeds in a fun and story-focused way,” she said.

The target audience includes children in kindergarten and first grade.

The book — designed by Denise Turner with photography by Brendan R. Kearns — was the brainchild of Marla Flowers, a former United Way campaign chairwoman and longtime volunteer.

“I had an idea about doing a children’s book,” Flowers said. “Everyone is so supportive and very welcoming to the project,” including sponsors and volunteers, Flowers added. She also mentioned how helpful Peggy Tierney of Tanglewood Books had been.

“It took a village to make this book,” Ryan said, praising Flowers’ creative approach and leadership in getting the book together.

And they were operating on a tight timeline.

“In less than six months, it went from an idea to a finished product,” Ryan said.

Proceeds from the book, published on Jan. 27, will go to the United Way of the Wabash Valley, particularly its “Success by 6” program, which promotes child literacy.

“It fits nicely with what we’re trying to raise money for,” Flowers said.

Her idea came from last year’s United Way calendar project focusing on local heroes. Instead of creating a calendar again this year, she thought of publishing a children’s book with local heroes “reading to children.”

Because one of the goals is promoting literacy, “why not do a children’s book?” Flower said.

“It’s one of those ‘aha’ moments.”

About 3,000 books were ordered, Flowers said. Each book costs $15 and is available for purchase online or at the United Way office, 2901 Ohio Blvd. She said the ultimate goal is to raise $45,000 from “One Day I Could Be … .”

Ideas for a second volume, which may be called  “One Day I Could Make…” are already being considered, Flowers said.  

“There’s so much potential with this book,” including turning it into an annual project that could generate revenue for United Way, she said.

A creative way to raise funds and a reminder of the various careers in the Wabash Valley, the book also has one more, basic message:

“It’s a message to kids that reading is important,” Flowers said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell@tribstar.com.

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