by Denise Gary
Photographs © Denise Gary

Kids Need to Read spent a fascinating morning presenting Comerica Bank Manager Chris Ingersoll to the fifth through eighth grade students of Children First Academy in Tempe, Arizona as part of the Kids-N-Peace literacy program.

Mr. Ingersoll had quite an inspirational story to share about overcoming his highly challenging childhood to launch—against the odds—a successful career in the banking industry.

Specializing in turning around under-performing bank branches, Mr. Ingersoll uses the determination he developed while turning his life around as an adolescent to inspire his coworkers to work together in a positive atmosphere.

His story tied into many of the concepts the students have been reading and discussing in Jay McGraw’s Life Strategies for Dealing with Bullies, a book Kids Need to Read provided to each student.

Mr. Ingersoll’s presentation stimulated further class discussion in the days following, and clearly illustrated to the students the importance of being impervious to peer pressure, befriending the friendless, and firmly believing in a positive future.

Kids Need to Read sincerely thanks Chris Ingersoll for participating in the Kids-N-Peace program and for sharing his personal story with the students of Children First Academy.

Photo Gallery: Chris Ingersoll: Succeeding After a Challenging Childhood
Information: Kids-N-Peace Program

The Kids-N-Peace program is designed to support literacy education, as well as help students cope with bullying, learn peaceful conflict resolution techniques, and develop effective leadership skills. The Peace Packs Book Collection is the backbone of Kids-N-Peace, which also features related activities and live presentations to fulfill the goals of the program. According to, approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying, and one out of ten students ultimately drops out due to repeated bullying. The issues of bullying, school violence, and lack of peaceful leadership skills are pervasive menaces to children and experience has taught that self-empowerment through education is the key to breaking the cycle of violence.

Kids-N-Peace Funding Partners

East Quogue Elementary School Students
Elephants Remember
Employees Community Fund of Boeing Arizona
Fry’s Fund
John F. Long Foundation
Mesa Host Lions Club
Sundt Foundation
Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund


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