H.K. Gilbert – NFIL Mascot Barkley’s Creator
Creating Barkley, Secret Service Dog was no stretch for H.K. Gilbert for she has always dreamed of writing for children. As a mother and frequent volunteer with children’s projects and organizations, she confesses that her heart belongs to the kids and that’s where she most focuses her time and personal efforts. A personal White House tour that also led to H.K. spending quality time with the President’s dog, is what sparked the creation of Barkley, Secret Service Dog. H.K. wanted to create a fun learning experience for children through the eyes of a dog.
H.K. takes great pride in being a literacy activist and sharing the importance of parent and child interaction. H.K. feels that parents taking an extra 5 to 10 minutes a day to sit down with their children and read to them will not only teach them valuable skills but will also create a strong bond. H.K. had the amazing opportunity to also volunteer for organizations such as Project R.E.A.D., which tutors adults who have never had the opportunity to learn to read. Volunteers attend workshops that teach them to help adult non-readers learn the basic skills they need to function in day-to-day activities. It’s a very rewarding program and is supported by numerous volunteers.
H.K. has also been involved in her community through organizations such as youth basketball, The Hilman House – a foundation that helps children with Cystic Fibrosis and houses their families during treatments and helping raise money for Muscular Dystrophy.
Within all these experiences, the common thread is that H.K. is involved with activities that always give back! It’s her hope that she will inspire someone to be a volunteer in his/her community and for a parent to spend quality time by reading to their children.
H.K. feels that there is nothing more precious than our children, for they are the future of our world!