Rose Lipton

Executive Director, Indigo Love of Reading Foundation

Bachelor of Arts, (Hons), International Development Studies and Gender & Women's Studies, 2008

Reading helps you imagine yourself in another person’s shoes.

“It is all about the individual child,” says Rose Lipton.

She’s talking about her approach—in the classroom as a teacher, then her years as Director of Canada Programs at Right To Play International, and now as Executive Director of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation. Everything she has done is about helping children, one at a time.

“It’s about empowerment,” Rose says. It’s something she learned at King’s.

“You’re in small groups in the King’s tutorials, and there is always someone there to support you and cares about your development … I felt very empowered at King’s by the idea that I could interact with such canonical information and still have a point of view on it. I would find my own perspective. I liked how that was valued. It was a very empowering experience.”

After getting her undergrad, Rose received the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship allowing her to pursue her Masters at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and Oviedo University in Spain. From there she crossed the ocean and went back to school for her BEd at the Ontario Institute for Studies and Education (OISE) in Toronto. Getting a job she was passionate about proved difficult though, as it is for so many new graduates. But a family friend told her about Right To Play, an international non-profit, headquartered in Toronto. It’s goal—to “protect, educate and empower children to rise above adversity using the power of play”. That struck a chord and Rose took a shot.

“It was a leap of faith taking a four-month unpaid internship. I had been through a lot of school, but the job market took a dip after the recession and millennials like me had to get creative to find a way in, so I had to take that leap. There were no guarantees. I started with a few contracts and I was with Right To Play for seven years. I still feel incredibly privileged that I was in a position to take that internship, many aren’t.”

Rose loved her time there. She says, “Right to Play will be with me forever. But I was ready for the next thing.”

That turned out to be Indigo’s Love of Reading Foundation. She saw the posting for Executive Director and didn’t think twice.

“What drew me to it was the opportunity to make change in our education system. It isn’t equitable. Not every kid has the same shot at a quality education. And for me, that’s not okay. I came for that reason.”

Love of Reading provides grants to schools to improve libraries and support programs promoting literacy.

“We’re looking at bringing in new books that are culturally relevant. There are so many books now that are written from diverse perspectives. Schools are hungry for that. And it’s not about buying a book about an indigenous young person for a young indigenous student. Every student should have access to that book.”

Reading, Rose says, helps people develop empathy, something she considers vital for everyone these days.

“Reading helps you imagine yourself in another person’s shoes.”

Just like her work with Right To Play, Rose’s experience at King’s has had an impact on her work with Love of Reading.

“Kings was about education for education’s sake and reading to promote critical thinking. Not about achieving specific outcomes. That’s what Love of Reading is too. We’re all about fostering the initial connection to books and learning.“

Posted: January 2020