Entrepreneurship Highlight: Caitlin Ann Gooch

One of our three pillars at Pearl School of Modeling is entrepreneurship. We challenge our Pearls to create a business plan, implement it, and begin their business in their semester. We felt it important to add an entrepreneur highlight to the newsletter” to bring awareness to the numerous business owners that could positively influence our readers.
 
Caitlin Gooch is a Wendell, NC native who grew up on an 87 acre farm. Her father built a racetrack where he would allow horse races. She is the founder of Saddle Up and Read (SUAR), a nonprofit organization she began in 2017 when she learned the literacy rates in North Carolina were extremely low. Gooch partnered with her local library to create an incentive for young readers. She proposed that if a person checked out more than three books, she would enter them into a raffle and gift the winner with a free trip to her family’s farm to ride their horses. 
 
Gooch noted that 36% of the fourth graders in the state of North Carolina were reading at proficient or higher according to the 2019 Nation’s Report Card.  Gooch wanted to encourage reading amongst youth and has gone as far as organizing book drives and school-wide reading competitions. To date, she has raised more than $20,000 from donors around the world to help expand her services and open an in-house library and equestrian center.
 
Gooch is the mother of three young girls and wife to a member of the US Navy. She says she has her family’s full support. Although she no longer lives in North Carolina, she travels monthly to her family’s farm to continue her mission. She has been coined, “The Black Cowgirl” To learn more about her organization visit her site at: https://www.saddleupandread.org/
 
You can follow her on Instagram: @theblackcowgirl and @caitlin_gooch
 
Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls

Photo Credit: Photographer-Stanford Moore of www.blackreignsmagazine.com, www.saddleupandread.org

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