The Jester & Pharley came into my life at a time when I sorely needed affirmation that the power of laughter could help heal a broken heart. In 1987 my younger brother died suddenly; when I met the Saltzmans in the early '90s (Barbara was my editor at the Los Angeles Times) and was presented the draft of "The Jester Who Lost His Jingle" to read, my spirit of sadness began a yearslong transformation using the Jester philosphy of perseverance. I knew I wanted to be a part of its mission because I have seen the devastating effects that grief and loss, fear and sadness, have on the human condition. The Jester & Pharley Phund instill hope. Hope and courage course throughout every activity or event I have been involved with for this nonprofit. The love shared with other children and their mothers by a mother who respected her son's wishes to the degree Barbara did has had an overwhelming effect on my life. I have seen the eyes of so many children reading or hearing the words of the Jester light up at his message. These children, who have so many reasons to cry, stop to giggle, and laugh, and respond to the person presenting them with this gift. The gift is free, love and laughter, but to spread it has taken countless hours and toil and yes, money. It is the most worthwhile cause with which I have ever been involved. I still have my first-edition "Jester" and remind myself regularly to brainstorm new ways to help the Phund bring it into bookstores for its latest edition, introduce its message to classrooms all over the nation. There continues to be a need to bring Jester & Pharley into schools and areas where special-needs children -- and adults in physical and emotional pain -- can find the hope and courage to confront the realities of life. Barbara and Joe are tireless communicators and they lead by example. I believe the Jester's legacy is ongoing because it stems from a parent's love. That never dies, and it is passed on to one generation after another. It is a beautiful thing to recognize and help fortify.
I have had the honor and great pleasure of being involved with the Jester and Pharley Phund since its inception, and this PHUND is truly PHENOMONAL. I’m most impressed by the way Phund lives up to its motto: “It’s up to us to make a difference, it’s up to us to care.” While teaching and spreading this message to others, the Phund also carries it out each day. What is it that the Phund cares about? It’s the most important thing in the world: children. The Phund is passionately devoted to children and making a difference in their lives. One of the best examples of how the Phund carries out its credo is seen in its outstanding educational programs. The “Reading to Give” program is genius in the way it not only motivates kids to keep turning pages and reading book after book, it also teaches kids to care about other kids. I experienced the way this program inspires kids first-hand when the girls in my Brownie troop read countless pages knowing that with each page read, they were bringing smiles and laughter to children who were ill with the gift of the “Jester” book. With this goal in mind and spurring them on, my Brownies increased the time they typically spent reading for pleasure. They just couldn’t read enough! In the current climate of kids spending too much time texting and video gaming and not enough time reading, paired with the prevalence of bullying in schools, the Phund is carrying out a critical mission by pairing reading and compassion. The Phund is getting to the heart of what children today need while teaching them to use their hearts to think about and care for other children who are going through difficult times. By doing that, the Phund is creating not only better readers—but better people. The best part is that the kids involved in Reading to Give have fun while they are learning these vital life lessons. The Jester Phund, with the irrepressible Barbara Saltzman as the “Jester’s Mom” who visits schools across the country to encourage kids to read and give, is doing something of profound meaning and significance. Through its work, the Phund is making our world a better, brighter, more educated and kinder place.
Barbara Saltzman makes the school assemblies so much fun by drawing out the guessing-game for the kids of how many pages they've read. She announces the top reader for each grade level, as well as for the entire school. The kids wiggle & squirm with excitement and applaud the top reades. It's an overall very exciting morning with a focus on literacy and helping other children.
I love this non-profit's mission. David Saltzman's story is so perfect for young and old. The story "The Jester and Pharley Phund" has such a great message and Barbara has made it into a fabulous literacy program that also benefits young people who are ill by giving them a powerful medicine: Laughter. The creation of the Phund has allowed me to help high school students in my school apply their leadership skills, while also promoting literacy in our district. It is such a great plan and cause.
This organization is inspirational. Our school read-a-thon promoted literacy and raised awareness for community service. The teachers loved the lesson guides and classroom resources for teaching students how to handle adversity and choose to be happy. We were honored to partner with our community businesses to make donations to our local children's hospitals. The support staff make the experience a wonderful partnership!
I first became aware of the Jester book when I saw Barbara on t.v. I invited her to my school where she presented her program to the fifth grade and third grade students. She happily gave books at that time to the teachers and the school library. She donated more books to all 60 Elementary School Counselors. I loved using this marvelous book with my counselees. I saw hope and sparkle in their eyes as they moved thru the book with my assistance. Children experiencing grief and loss and life were affected in such a positive way. They loved the doll as well. Later I used the same book and doll in my private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist. The program was then presented to our entire school and the children started reading and reading. The reading was a win win for students and children in our selected hospital. One of our own children was a recipiant of the book and doll as she was hospitalized for a long time. She loved the book and grew strenth and hope from the book.
Hello! I first met the Jester's Mom and Dad (Barbara and Joe Saltzman) at least a dozen years ago at a book fair in San Francisco. I bought a couple of copies of their late son David's book, "The Jester Has Lost His Jingle," for my nephew and niece. At first, I thought they were good people and it looked beautiful when I leafed through it. I bought the book as just another present. But once I read it, I realized they were not just selling a book, they were on a mission. Since then I've bought another for a new nephew and I've given away at least 5 or 6 to the offspring of my friends. Because each book sold is generously matched by The Jester & Pharley Phund as dollar for dollar donation, I was glad to buy those books even though there have been times when I really couldn't afford it. Every friend thanked me for introducing their family to the Jester, and at least one of them got the bookstore in Mississippi where she worked to order it. She said her daughter, Tucie Mae, carried her Jester doll with her everywhere for almost a year. From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow. Since that humble beginning, with the Jester's Mom and Dad barnstorming the West spreading David's philosophy that good cheer triumphs over all, they established the Jester & Pharley Phund to donate copies of the book and educational materials to hospitals, shelters, day care centers, and wherever else they find at-risk children. Over the years, The Jester & Pharley Phund developed learning programs to enrich the experience of reading which include teaching materials and a special training program for volunteers to spread the Jester's message. Something unexpected and wonderful happened! Studies have demonstrated that wherever the Jester has gone, test scores go up! All of a sudden, children discovered it's fun to read! It seems the Jester and Pharley have gone, they've infected everyone with the love of reading! I encouraged my friends to donate directly to the Jester & Pharley Phund Now a very personal note: I had a massive heart attack in 2004 and I had a valve repair and quad bypass surgery. One of the after-effects of the anesthesia is clinical depression. I have had some very difficult moments which tested my moxie, and during some of those, I drew upon the lesson the Jester taught me the very first time I read it. But also, I remembered the warmth and kindness of the Jester's Mom & Dad who remembered me through all these years even though our meetings were infrequent and brief. During our most recent contact, they greeted me with as much warmth and kindness as ever, even though a half dozen years had passed since I bought the last book. Their love and kindness (and INTEGRITY) infuses the Jester & Pharley Phund. This is not some fly-by-night sham. Unlike many charities which fly their directors first class and pay six-figure salaries, the Jester's Mom & Dad don't take a dime for themselves. I wholeheartedly urge each person who reads this review to buy a copy of "The Jester Has Lost His Jingle" not for a child, but for themself! And if you can afford it, get the Jester doll too. It's well-constructed, not some cheesy piece of junk. You'll feel better in two ways. The story is uplifting without being artificial or cloyingly sweet. But more importantly, each book you buy helps them spread the love and kindness. I'm certain you'll agree with me that The Jester & Pharley Phund deserves your support. Sincerely, kenn fong
When I first saw David Saltzman's masterpiece, "The Jester Has Lost His Jingle", in draft form, my instant, visceral reaction was, "This is a masterpiece that will endure through the ages as great literature." After David passed away, Barbara Saltzman, David's mom, published "The Jester", and started "The Jester and Pharley Phund that helps sick children summon courage and hope through having the Jester book and doll to comfort them in the hospital.The Phund also supports literacy and concern for others as countless well children in countless schools across the country participate in the "Reading To Give" program.
I first met the Saltzmans while working for Barnes & Noble when the Jester book was first published. I was so taken with the book and the story behind it that when the opportunity arose a few years later to work with The Jester & Pharley Phund, I jumped at it. David's message of laughter and hope has been an inspiration to me for several years, and it has been an honor to be a part of carrying that message to so many others in need.
It has been a honor to work with this organization for the past 4 years. Mrs. Saltzman comes to the schools and reads the book her late son David had written durning his illness. After the reading she talks about her son and his dreams and wishes for all children. All she ask was that each child make a get well card for another child who was in the hospital. Draw a picture of the Jester and Pharley looking for happiness, and keep track of each book and pages that they had read over a 2 to 3 week peroid. These pages and cards add up to books and Pharley dolls for the hospital of the schools choosing. Once the students have completed this, I counted up each card, each drawing and each page and send the count to her office. In a few weeks she came back out to give out awards and present the books and dolls that the students had work so had for to the hospital staff. During these weeks the students learn about giving back to those who are sick andless fortunate.
I met Barbara about 10 years ago and so admired her dedication and non-profit organization that I felt committed to helping. As a teacher I spread the word about Barbara's reading programs for schools, and encouraged participation. As a past school board member I am convinced that we need more organizations like Barbara's that work selflessly to provide programs for young needy children. In addition, I believe her work with children in hospitals is fulfilling an amazing need to boost spirits and help parents. Bravo!
I met Barbara Saltzman in 1997 when she came to a school in Wilmington, CA. She read the story of the Jester has Lost His Jingle. It was a moving moment for all of us as she explained how the young author, her son had died of Cancer. She also mentioned how he had written the book before his passing. All the students were to read books and were to reach a certain goal of pages read. She returned within two months to see how much reading had been completed and it was awesome to see how students read so many books to help reach the goal. Mrs. Saltzman then present the school with a certificate and donated books with the Jester doll to young children at Kaiser Hopsital who had cancer. All the children were so touched by the visit as well as the adults. Since then Mrs. Saltzman has come to our school, Bonita Street School in Carson, CA and continues with the same idea. The children love to read...but I believe the difference in their motivation is that they want to learn about how they have helped young children who have cancer to have a little more joy and hope in their lives. I truly believe this is a worthwhile organization. As the Principal of this school I feel we provide a great need for those young children who may not live long to enjoy life as we have. I encourage others to join us in this worthy effort. eybarra
The Jester & Pharley Phund Reading Makes A Difference Literacy Program made a huge impact on all the students at my school. During the Read-A-Thon their enthusiasm for reading was quite evident. They enjoyed the competitive aspect of the program and learned compassion for children in the hospital. This program was unlike any other because children were helping other children by their reading.