Girl Scout with dyslexia builds reading kits to help kids just like her

Gillen teamed with Richard Gonzmart, United Way
Posted at 1:27 PM, Sep 21, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Mariana Gillen knows what it's like to feel different, to feel as if she's reading a different school book than other kids in her class.

"It was hard when I was younger," said Mariana. "But dyslexia can't stop anyone. Dyslexia is a superpower."

The 14-year-old Tampa girl is teaming up with the United Way Suncoast and legendary restaurateur Richard Gonzmart to distribute M.A.R.I Kits. That is, "Making Awesome Reading Improvement" kits.

This remarkable Girl Scout needed a project for her Silver Award. So she decided to look within, helping kids with dyslexia just like her.

Each M.A.R.I. Kit contains headphones to help students concentrate and focus, a word tile game, a whiteboard, and more.

Gonzmart, who funded the project, also has dyslexia. It is something he didn't fully grasp until later in life.

"At the age of 43, I realized that what I had considered a disability wasn't," said Gonzmart.

The United Way Suncoast will now distribute the kits to area kids.

For more on M.A.R.I. Kits, click here.

This story was originally published by Sean Daly at WFTS.