When the pandemic took place, schools were forced to close down and teach students virtually. Donte Woods-Spikes made the difficult decision to leave his job as an educator and write a book about meaningful moments and lessons learned from children pre-Covid, in hopes of creating dialogue to prepare for post-Covid education and child advocacy. Join Donte Wood-Spikes as he shares different moments from the book and his vision to create change within the education system.

Donte Woods-Spikes is known for various forms of work, such as professional speaking, which landed him on the TEDx Stage and for his film, As a Matter of Black, which took him to the Sundance Film Festival. In 2021, Donte became an author, writing his first book, So. Long.: Unfinished Good-byes with the Children of COVID-19, which revisits powerful lessons children taught him during his time working in Columbus City Schools before the pandemic. His book has been highlighted in the Ohioana Book Festival, The Thurber House, and Buckeye Book Festival. Donte is an advocate for storytelling of all forms. His contributions to encouraging authentic storytelling include working alongside The Columbus Foundation as a Big Table ambassador and a TEDx organizer. He started his own storytelling workshop titled Voices of Empathy, which walks people through organizing stories and presenting in front of crowds. Donte is also the creator of the social movement Empathize With Me. EWM’s goal is to provide genuine lessons, relationships, and empathy through storytelling. Donte's overall goal is to educate and connect the world beyond perceptions and stereotypes with authentic experiences through storytelling and documentation.

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FEE: $10