As part of our continuing Meet A Mom series, the Long Island Mamas is proud to profile author and Deer Park mom Valerie Pfundstein who has made it her mission to introduce children to the real-life “superheroes” that walk and live among us everyday…our nation’s veterans.
In 2011, when Valerie Pfundstein was a Kindergarten support specialist in Massapequa, she invited a young veteran named Manny Jimenez to read to her class in recognition of Veterans Day.
However, she quickly realized that there were NO books geared to children about Veterans. Instead, Manny read an ABC book to the class, but Valerie made him a promise, the next time he returned to her classroom, he would have a book about Veterans.
Soon after that visit, Valerie kept her promise and wrote: Veterans Heroes in Our Neighborhood.
Veterans Heroes in Our Neighborhood is a heartfelt tribute to all the men and women who serve our country; and a personal tribute to the first veteran she knew, her grandfather.
Valerie hopes the book will help teach the “next generation” about what it really means to serve and about the true meaning behind the lyrics “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
In addition to the book, Valerie has created a veterans program for schools, also called “Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood”. The mission of the program is to encourage children to identify the veterans in their own neighborhood, in their own family, and among their own friends. It’s her hope that it will spark ‘intergenerational conversations among grandchildren and grandparents about their service to our great country.’
Valerie has also begun work on a 3rd project called “Kids Who Serve“ – whose goal is to enlighten school teachers and administrators as to the unique issues and needs of children whose parent(s) serve in our military. The project is still very much in its infancy and right now, she is looking for military family members to participate in a brief online survey, which will help to identify those unique concerns. (Any military family that would be interested in participating can complete the 10-question survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SXFJS59 OR by visiting the project’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/KidsWhoServe.)
On this Veteran’s Day (and every other to come) we salute our fellow Long Island mom, Valerie Pfundstein!
- A portion of Valerie’s profits go to one of the charities that Manny Jimenez supports called Hope for the Warriors.
- If your organization or school district is interested in having Valerie for an author visit, please contact her at ValeriePfundstein@gmail.com or PfunomenalStories@gmail.com
- Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood is available at the Book Revue in Huntington, and several Barnes and Noble locations across Long Island. It’s available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and is sold at Bass Pro Shops throughout the country.
- Lastly, to help show your support for this amazing Long Island Mom, vote for her as Best Author on Long Island as part of the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Best of LI program. You can vote once a day, every day, until December 15th.
By: Kim Como
Photo credit: Valerie Pfundstein