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Lyndsay Archer, 23, of Southfield, shows off the children’s book she recently titled Fly, Doctor, Fly! Wrote. on Friday March 26, 2021 in front of the Southfield Public Library in Southfield. Archer illustrated the book with the inspiration behind it, her father Phillip. The book highlights black and brown doctors. Archer is the founder of Roots Strong, a nonprofit that supports local and global youth welfare and focuses on education, literacy and health. Your nonprofit has built two libraries in Jamaica.Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

When Lyndsay Archer was around 4 years old, she remembers falling in love with reading. Young Archer was an avid observer of PBS’s “Reading Rainbow” and frequented the Southfield Public Library to read stories.

Now, almost two decades later, she is still in love with reading. Archer, 23, is the author of “Fly, Doctor, Fly!” A children’s book published in 2020 about a boy who discovers his passion for helping others through medicine. The book was written by her father, Dr. Phillip Archer, who she co-illustrated the book with, and it is the culmination of a longstanding desire by Lyndsay, Detroit and the Caribbean to give back through their literary works.

In 2015, Lyndsay started Roots Strong with her mother Maureen Archer. Roots Strong started out as a way for Lyndsay to do community service, a value that both parents Lyndsay and their younger sister Bethany have instilled at home and in Jamaica, where Phillip and Maureen are from.

“Seeing where they came from, where they grew up and what things they had no access to, and seeing the conditions (Jamaicans) still live in – that was the foundation of knowing that I wanted to do something where I can give something back to my community at home and abroad, ”said Lyndsay.

Shortly after the idea for Lyndsay came up, Roots Strong became a nonprofit and the organization started public relations in 2016. Roots Strong got its name because Lyndsay knew she wanted to focus on serving the youth.

“To know that our children are really the roots of our world, our society; We know that if we penetrate our children again, we can strengthen our communities from there, ”said Lyndsay.

Roots Strong’s first project was to donate school supplies to a women-run school on the north coast of Jamaica. “My mother and I just got some school supplies on our regular family trip to Jamaica – as many as we could fit in our suitcases – and brought them down. It wasn’t anything big, but it was our first outreach project, ”said Lyndsay.

Lyndsay Archer, 23, of Southfield, shows off the children's book she recently wrote, entitled:

Lyndsay Archer, 23, of Southfield, shows off the children’s book she recently titled Fly, Doctor, Fly! Wrote. on Friday March 26, 2021 in front of the Southfield Public Library in Southfield. Archer illustrated the book with the inspiration behind it, her father Phillip. The book highlights black and brown doctors. Archer is the founder of Roots Strong, a nonprofit that supports local and global youth welfare and focuses on education, literacy and health. Your nonprofit has built two libraries in Jamaica.Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

After this project, Lyndsay added literacy to the core values ​​of Roots Strong as it was important to her and her mother. Maureen emphasized reading for her children when they were young because she often had no access to books in her teens.

“When I grew up in rural Jamaica, there weren’t many resources. We had a small library in my ward, but because my family and I lived so far from the library, we couldn’t visit it often, ”Maureen recalled. “The library itself didn’t have many books, and most of the books were old or used. But whenever I got the chance to visit it has been a great treat for me. “

Maureen emigrated to America as a teenager, but returned to Jamaica and visited her anyway. She went back a year and found that the library was no more.

“After learning that the library no longer exists, my lifelong dream was to build a library in the community and make books more accessible to the people who lived there,” Maureen said.

In 2019 Lyndsay made her mother’s dream come true.

Lyndsay and her mother traveled to Glengoffe, St. Catherine, Jamaica with seven other volunteers and built two libraries – one for younger children and one for older children – and a computer lab. About 17 members of the Glengoffe community helped during the week and a half process.

“The fact that Lyndsay wasn’t born or raised in Jamaica but felt it in her heart and had that connection to go back home (to me) and do that was really incredible,” Maureen said.

Briana Knox, who Lyndsay met while studying at Wayne State University, was helping with the libraries. Knox saw a job on campus seeking volunteers for the trip to Jamaica and she signed up immediately.

Knox remembered the reaction of the children who wanted to help paint the libraries and read the books on the shelves. The library for the older children was devoted to the topic of the solar system, which excited the students.

“One day we all put the books in the library and the students came and wanted to help paint the planets and hang them up,” she said. “One of the little boys was all over space, that was his thing. He was telling us facts and we were showing him books he might be interested in and he immediately wanted to dive into any books we had … that was a great memory. “

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Since that outreach trip, Knox has joined Roots Strong and is now the group’s Director of Community Outreach for Detroit and southeast Michigan. She said she took pride in serving on Roots Strong’s board of directors during what she believes was a crucial time for youth education.

“Right now, (Roots Strong) is very important, especially with COVID-19, a lot of students are at home doing schoolwork and Roots Strong is an organization that can fill the void when it comes to getting educational resources for students” said Knox.

During the pandemic, Roots Strong ran a YouTube literary series and other social media initiatives. Most recently this month, Roots Strong launched a campaign called “313 Books for the 313,” National Reading Month, with the goal of returning 313 books to Detroit’s youth. The number is an ode to Detroit’s beloved area code.

“So many children don’t have their own books at home, so we wanted to give our children access to so many books with characters that look just like them. That has stories that they can relate to and also stories that teach them about a different culture or experience, ”said Lyndsay. “We started getting donations and every single package I open is like Christmas to me just to see the kindness of others.”

Donors can contribute gently used books or buy a book from a curated Amazon wish list that Lyndsay created.

Donated books include “Fly, Doctor, Fly!” Which Lyndsay excites as she has received positive feedback from children and their families through social media and virtual readings.

Lyndsay Archer, 23, of Southfield, shows off the children's book she recently wrote, entitled:

Lyndsay Archer, 23, of Southfield, shows off the children’s book she recently titled Fly, Doctor, Fly! Wrote. on Friday March 26, 2021 in front of the Southfield Public Library in Southfield. Archer illustrated the book with the inspiration behind it, her father Phillip. The book highlights black and brown doctors. Archer is the founder of Roots Strong, a nonprofit that supports local and global youth welfare and focuses on education, literacy and health. Your nonprofit has built two libraries in Jamaica.Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

Although the pandemic was an obstacle for many, Lyndsay was positive about it and said that it helped her sharpen the plot and illustrations with her father, who said he was honored to be the inspiration for the book.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that my childhood experiences would be an inspiration to anyone. The fact that my experiences of growing up humbly on a small West Indian island were not only heard by my child, but also an inspiration for their career choice and another requirement for the authorship of “Fly, Doctor, Fly!” Are gifts from the Sir, ”said Phillip. “I hope the book inspires young minds, encourages future generations of doctors, and makes sense of our youth.”

Since the book is about a health care worker at a time when they’re more important than ever, Lyndsay said the release, which takes nearly four years, couldn’t have been better timing. She also hopes this will inspire young people to learn more about public health.

With every purchase of “Fly, Doctor, Fly!” A portion of the proceeds will go to Roots Strong, sparking Lyndsay’s desire to give back, come full circle and fill her parents with a lot of pride.

“To see that seed of compassion she had as a child continue to bloom – it’s humbling to see what my husband and I instilled in her really took root,” Maureen said.

Lyndsay plans to go to medical school in the near future in hopes of one day becoming a pediatrician. Her advice to children is a quote from one of her favorite authors, the late Toni Morrison: “If there is a book you want to read that has not yet been written, you have to write it.”

Lyndsay added, “And if you have trouble finding your voice, reading can help you find it.”

To volunteer, donate to Roots Strong, or take part in the 313 book promotion, visit Rootsstrong.org or follow them on Instagram @rootsstrong. To “Fly, Doctor, Fly!” Visit lyndsayarcher.com/shopbooks or follow the book on Instagram @flydoctorfly.

A Detroit native, Kyla L. Wright covers the neighborhoods and the different people, places, and things that give Detroit its unique character. You can reach her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @kylawrightmedia.

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