Inspired by his involvement in the 2009 Bezos Scholars Program and Lawton Chiles Leadership Corps, Blake launched the “I Feel the Need to Read” literacy project which puts books in the hands of underprivileged second grade students from Title I schools and educates community members about literacy and related issues.
At the start of the 2011-2012 school year, “I Feel the Need to Read” is in it’s third year and has expanded to over three high schools, helping over one thousand second grade students in Hillsborough County Title I schools collectively. Blake’s literacy efforts have earned him national recognition in publications such as PARADE Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Edutopia.org.
A graduate of Freedom High School in Tampa, Blake currently attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has pursued his an interest in education policy by joining the Education Center of the Roosevelt Institute, a national student-run policy think-tank. This past summer Blake spent eight weeks in the Mississippi Delta teaching classes in reading, stage design, and leadership to students at the Sunflower County Freedom Project. Recently, Blake began working as a student-intern at the Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy in Chapel Hill, where he assists in researching the Common Core State Standards.
We’re honored and delighted that Blake is bringing his commitment to literacy and community service to this year’s TEDxYouth@TampaBay event!