I am Richard Wayne Griffin, PhD, PG, CPSSc, Professor, Research Scientist, Founder and CEO of ARC Communications, LLC of Texas. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to hear a part of my story.
For nearly 31 years, I have had the opportunity to observe high school students arrive on a college campus, receive their initial evaluations for classes that they should enroll in for their first semester, and begin their freshmen year taking remedial (developmental) reading, writing, and math classes that do not contribute to their degree program requirements. These students should have mastered the art of reading in elementary school, but must return to basic tutorials due to inadequate skills.
I am convinced that strong reading skills lead to stronger writing and math skills, because the ability to read well and clearly comprehend the written word serves as the foundation for the development of logical thought processes, and leads to confidence in expressing oneself through verbal and written modes.
My passion for reading began at an early age. My mother said that she taught me to read by the age of three, and honestly I don’t ever remember saying that “I don’t like to read”. As an adult, my issue now is that there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in each day to read the wealth of interesting articles that arrive electronically.
When a student, who is doing poorly on assignments and who is obviously not reading the assigned materials, informs me that he or she doesn’t like to read, then I am pretty safe in my assumption that the student probably does not read well and simply uses the “I don’t like to read” card to mask the inability to read and comprehend at a strong level.
As we know, strong youth grow to become strong adults, who build strong communities that support all citizens as they live out their allegiance to the state, nation, and global community. I may be oversimplifying the issue, and maybe I’m too narrowly focused in my attention on reading, but I honestly believe that if we do our small part very well, then others are free to do their part. The synergistic collaborations will ultimately produce a more peaceful world in which people are confident in themselves and their ability to positively contribute to the well being of all mankind.
As an educator and research scientist, I am all about addressing issues and getting to solutions that will strengthen our communities, the nation, and the global society. Over the years extensive travel within the United States, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago has broadened my cultural and biodiversity knowledge and deepened a desire to share this knowledge with others through educational programs. Inspired by a book that my wife was writing about her educational experiences as a young girl, growing up in the South during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, I formed ARC Communications, LLC with the objective of inspiring youth early.
ARC Communications, LLC is a Texas based Visual Art Communications and Publishing Company. Formed in 2010, the company’s mission is to promote visual literacy as a way to develop visual and critical thinking skills in pre-teen and tween youth, as well as to deliver multicultural literature for youth in print. Through the development and production of historically accurate storybooks, standards-based curriculum supplemental learning aids, animation, performing arts, music, games, artwork and other creative products, ARC’s approach to multicultural education is focused on the arts as culture, history and connectors of people.
ARC’s flagship initiative is “Little Flower®” also known as “The Little Flower Literacy Project.” Little Flower was created by my wife, Florita Bell Griffin, Ph.D., who is an urban planner, urban and regional scientist, and self-proclaimed cultural art enthusiast. In Spanish, her name Florita means little flower. Her book, “The Little Flower Vignettes – Story Behind The Story,” (2014) provides the non-fictional back-story for the fictional Little Flower character, who is the project’s namesake. Florita received the 2016 Zora Neale Hurston Award from the American Library Association (ALA) for her contribution to African American literature after launching The Little Flower Literacy Project in 2015.
Little Flower uses storytelling and components of artistic media as a stimulus for developing literacy and performance skills, while fostering student identification, student empowerment, diversity, inclusion, self-esteem, confidence, vision, and imagination in youth.
At ARC Communications, we’re excited about the ambitious projects we’ve undertaken, and we appreciate your visit to the website. Please look around the website and get in touch with us if you have any questions about school purchasing, product licensing, partnerships, or any other aspect of our work.
AUTHOR & CREATIVE DIRECTOR
My name is Florita Bell Griffin, M.U.P., Ph.D., and my life is a positive reflection of injustice, intolerance, and inequity. As a result, the Little Flower Different Deserves Special Club (250 page chapter book) is a parody of my childhood in the Jim Crow South as the African American daughter of an elementary school teacher and a Baptist pastor. In adulthood, I have become a Ph.D. holder, the spouse of a tenured university professor/professional geoscientist, a tireless advocate for equity for all, and a former member of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Board of Directors, appointed by then Governor George W. Bush.
My life’s work has been to teach people of all socioeconomic backgrounds about the power of overcoming inequities, the joy of inclusion, and the impact of literacy on inclusiveness and diversity.
As an urban and regional scientist, a former city planner and low income housing advocate, and a political person of color wrongfully imprisoned in the criminal justice system, I am all too aware of the significance of initiatives that promote student identification, student empowerment, and literacy work. My life’s journey has given me the opportunity to listen to and frequently participate in a diverse range of conversations with diverse people. As a result, I’ve gained many insights that support the significance of the Little Flower.
With the ultimate goal of motivating people of all ages to learn while having fun, we’ve developed an amazing collaborative throughout the years that has helped with providing the legal and professional knowledge, insight, and inspiration required to bring ARC ideas to life. Collaborators on ‘The Little Flower Educational Series’ include:
*Richard W. Griffin, Ph.D., P.G.
*Florita Bell Griffin, M.U.P., Ph.D.
*Asa L. Bell, Jr.,JD., MBA, MA
*Ebony Griffin, M.S.
*Leon Gatewood and HOLLA! Community Development Corp.
*Karen Tripp, JD.
*Barrye L. Price, Ph.D., Major General US Army (retd.)
*Takeda LeGrand, Ed.D., EJD
*C. Michael Riles, M.ED, M.S. Ed.D.
*Deidra Murphy Steed, M.ED., NBCT
The “flower” theme, as well as the idea of Little Flower as an artist, were influenced in part by Victorian artist Kate Greenaway and her 19th-century picture book “The Language of Flowers.” From a nostalgic standpoint, Greenaway drew incidents from everyday life in the Regency era. The book, The Language of Flowers, not only captures Greenaway’s beautiful artwork but also provides the Victorian meanings for over 200 plants.
The story of Little Flower is told in “The Different Deserves Special Club,” a 250-page chapter book illustrated with animated drawing videos. The story weaves together a number of themes, including science and math, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, to why diversity is important and bullying is bad.
All of the flowers in the Little Flower story have symbolic meanings, as demonstrated in the three videos below from the book featuring the Almond Flower, Black Poplar Flower, and Mugwort Flower, whose meanings are hope, courage, and happiness. The flower interpretations, taken from Greenaway’s book, correspond with Little Flower’s personal experiences.
The Different Deserves Special Club Educational Series includes:
1. The Different Deserves Special Club Book:
The Little Flower Different Deserves Special Club book is a unique repertoire of the cultural and historical experiences of a young girl growing up in the segregated south amidst the turmoil of the Civil Rights Era. The heroine, Little Flower, finds herself navigating the maze of life recognizing inequity and leading the fight for change while dealing with the struggles of young pre-teens. Issues of equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion are explored from a real-world perspective.
2. The Different Deserves Special Club Reader Response Journal:
The Reader Response Journal is a repository for the collection of thoughts and perspectives of the reader of “The Little Flower Deserves Special Club.” The Reader Response Journal provides an opportunity for students to make connections to their reading of the text and urges them to question, analyze, relate, respond and interpret information in order to gain a better understanding of the text.
3. The Different Deserves Special Club Curriculum Development Guide:
The Curriculum Development Guide encompasses fully developed instructional English/Language Arts units of lesson plans, formative and summative assessments, and instructional activities aligned to the WIDA English Language Learner Standards, American School Counselor Association Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success, Society of Health and Physical Education Health Standards, and Common Core English Language Arts Standards. Each lesson provides educators and facilitators with practical activities to facilitate instruction aligned to the curriculum standards using The Different Deserves Special Club book. The lesson plans are differentiated to provide enrichment for advanced learners as well as remediation for students who may need additional reinforcement. The Curriculum Development Guide is designed to be a one-stop resource providing comprehensive instructional activities, materials, assessments, and rubrics for educators and organizations looking to improve student literacy with rigor, relevance, relationships, and reflections.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for product review and pricing.
The Little Flower Doll is collectible-quality with a huggable red cloth body, brown eyes that open and close with lighter colored eyelids, semi-curled black hair that can be styled, and a movable head and limbs. Her limbs are made of phthalate-free smooth vinyl and graced with a beautiful brown skin tone. The unique “Little Flower” signature is imprinted on the back of her neck just under her hairline. In the body class (height and dimensions) of the American Girl Doll, Little Flower can wear the same size and style of clothes.
Visit littleflowerdolls.com to learn more about Little Flower Dolls®.
The following titles are published under the ARC Communications Imprint:
The Little Flower Artist Movie is a 2D, hand-drawn, animated short film inspired by the children’s book, “Where Little Flower Got Her Power (2015),” revised and reprinted in 2020 as “The Different Deserves Special Club.”
Ten-year-old Little Flower is an artist who loves painting flowers. Her big imagination gives her an artistic super power that can bring whatever she paints to life. After her personified flowers are painted, they talk to her. The storyline is developed around the meaning of her favorite flowers, which are associated with memorable incidents that impacted her life. Little Flower exchanges greetings with the Black Poplar, Mugwort, and Almond Flowers, whose names mean courage, happiness, and hope.
The Little Flower Artist Movie was shown in the 2018 and 2019 Kid’s First Film Festivals, which is the largest film festival in the world, as well as film festivals in New York, Green Bay, California, and New Mexico.