Press Forward Program Letter of Recommendation
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Press Forward Program Letter of Recommendation
To: John Matthew Douglas,
Founder of Press Forward>Release My Greatness>Uncover My Passion>Believe In My Vision, ™
64 Whitney Road South
Saratoga Springs, New York
Regarding: Press Forward...™ Letter of Recommendation and Reference
I am pleased to introduce myself; Armine Spoelstra, special education instructional coach, literacy specialist at the Schenectady City
School District. I had the opportunity to collaborate with John Douglas as he developed the Press Forward Program. It is without hesitation that I
recommend this program. This is a program of distinction as its objective goes beyond character development. It focuses on children developing the
resilience needed to “Press Forward” in life, to achieve goals and uncover their passions.
Our society needs children who are willing to work to progress, not for their teachers or their parents but for themselves. They need to be
able to do this despite obstacles, setbacks or failures. Unlocking the motivation and tenacity in children that is required to progress is a challenge
faced by all communities. Having worked closely with children from poverty, I can tell you that they need this in a most profound way.
The program is also unique in that it infuses collaborative activities involving community professionals, volunteers and organizations as
well as group volunteering and literature to develop social, academic and career and college readiness skills, all to “Press Forward” through life.
Throughout the years that the program was at Franklin Delano Roosevelt elementary school I witnessed its transformative effect on
students, teachers and volunteers. It positively influenced our entire community. We had sixth graders overcome their fears of going to middle
school (a large school, known for its violence) and make pledges to press forward by doing things such as; asking more questions in class, reading
every night and joining school organizations. Teachers in our school became more mindful of the challenges our students face. They were inspired
by and joyful to have volunteers come in to bring experiences from outside the neighborhood to the students. They too began to seek opportunities
to share times that they had pressed forward to overcome obstacles and hardships and open their student’s minds up to the world of possibility
beyond their home neighborhood. Volunteers shared their personal stories of pressing forward. Their gift of time and sharing with the children was
powerful. I saw both the volunteers and children transform as they were inspired and supported by one another to press forward.
Press Forward is an innovative, distinctive program. It supports the entire school community with a positive, enduring focus on
developing resilience needed to “Press Forward” in life, to achieve enrichment of a life spent pursuing ones passions.
If I can be of further assistance to you or Mr. Douglas in this effort, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Special Education Instructional Coach, Literacy Specialist
Schenectady City School District
108 Education Drive
Schenectady, NY, 12303