On January 17, 2007, at age 69, Herreast Harrison launched a program to ensure children in the New Orleans area would experience the joy of reading. Aware that countless books were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and concerned that young, developing minds would lack this precious resource when they needed it most, Herreast made it her mission to connect as many children with as many books as possible. Starting with funds from her own savings, Herreast appealed to local and national sources for donations to the Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr. Book Club named in honor of her late husband, an avid reader and giver of books. Incredibly, to date she has distributed over 23,000 books to local children. That’s right… over 23,000 books, all new and almost all hard covered.
Meeting Herreast Harrison for the first time, one would not expect such drive and passion from a woman so reserved and self-effacing. Committed to making this world a better place, Herreast is the very definition of focus and productivity. As Program Director of the Guardian Institute, a Ninth Ward community organization established in 1988 that promotes education and local cultural traditions, Mrs. Harrison has devoted her life to ensuring that children in her community are given the necessary tools to succeed.
Herreast Harrison firmly believes that the road to success is not one that is given to you, but one you must build for yourself. Years of experience have shown Herreast that true power comes from within, and the greatest gifts we can give others are the tools to recognize and nourish that power. With wisdom gained through 73 rich years of life experience, Herreast recognizes there is no greater power than knowledge. And what better way to empower our children with knowledge than with books.
Herreast Harrison…Peoples Health Champion.
If you think about it, you probably know a Champion.
A Champion may even be you. Nominate yourself or someone you know—like a relative, co-worker or neighbor—as a Peoples Health Champion.