Greg WorrellTo Greg Worrell, literacy is invaluable.

As President of Classroom and Community Group for Scholastic, the largest book retailer in the nation, Worrell is making it his mission to promote literacy in every avenue possible. Starting in 1993 as Scholastic’s director of business development, Worrell not only garnered experience, but is a prime example that character, consistency, and hard work produces longevity.

Partnering with different organizations like One Hundred Black Men and the Eagle Academy Foundation, Worrell and the Scholastic Corporation have joined forces with four distinct organizations – American Academy of Pediatrics, Clinton Global Initiative, Reach Out and Read and Too Small to Fail—raising awareness of early literacy and vocabulary development by equipping parents with the proper tools to stimulate their children’s early brain and language development. 

““Reach Out and Read is an organization that’s focused on pediatricians providing moms with an effective prescription around reading for their babies,” said Worrell. “They say you ought to read to your child everyday to ensure they learn and grow, and we think that having moms read to their kids everyday is like a vaccination against a lack of information.”

Worrell wholeheartedly believes that this campaign would have more of a positive impact in underprivileged communities.

“The unfortunate reality is that 60% of low-income families don’t have a single book at home for their children,” says Worrell. “Research says that the availability of reading materials is the stronger predictor of academic achievement than socio-economic status.  If you engage them in books from a young age, than can overcome difficulties.”

According to Worrell, prior to the partnership each organization individually addressed infant literacy.  The Clinton Global Foundation collaborated with Next Generation and launched Too Small to Fail, an initiative working to improve the health and wellness of children between the ages of zero to five. Reach Out and Read, along with American Academy of Pediatrics share similar values and missions, where they encourage health, wellbeing and safety of infants to young adults.  Worrell believes the recent collaboration to be “a movement where we all came together to put an additional spotlight on literacy.”

And while the four well-known organizations joined forces with this new movement of advocating infant literacy, his commitment to literacy and excellence continues.

When it comes to his 21-year tenure with Scholastic, Worrell, a history enthusiast, believes this literacy effort is a variety of different components. Whether it’s a commitment to excellence, one’s character or hard work, Worrell has confidence that longevity is achievable with those qualities.

“There’s an old saying that only God gives talent, but hard work turns talent into genes, and I think it’s really important to try to work hard,” Worrell insists. “I would say no matter what work you’re involved in, there are five characteristics that people look for in individuals and they are ego, energy, empathy, intelligence and motivation. Based on my experience, if can display those five characteristics with consistency, you can be successful.”

Outside of his role as at Scholastic, Worrell is also the co-chair of education scholarship for 0ne Hundred Black Men. Prior to this role, Worrell made efforts to help rebuild the Eagle Academy’s Brooklyn campus library.

For those who face ongoing challenges and change, Worrell’s advice is to embrace the change, be aggressive, advance and be successful. Worrell says that people have two options when it comes to change. “You can either embrace change, love it, go for it, and be aggressive about finding a way to make the change work for you. Or you can let the change overwhelm you and cause failure.”