Olympic Hall of Famer Kristi Yamaguchi talks about importance of childhood literacy during pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's been 29 years since Fremont native Kristi Yamaguchi won the ladies figure skating gold medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. But she's celebrating a silver anniversary this year, that of her nonprofit organization, Always Dream.

Yamaguchi founded Always Dream to promote her passion of childhood literacy. In the beginning, she focused on book donations to a few Bay Area schools that serve underserved children. Since then it has grown to include 10 schools, 32 kindergarten classrooms, and 500 students in three states.

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The pandemic has brought forth changes in Yamaguchi's focus. Always Dream now provides students with an e-tablet, digital library subscription, hardcopy books and a dedicated book coach who delivers training, education and support to parents.

Yamaguchi joined ABC7 News Getting Answers today with anchor Kristen Sze to share why that work is more important than ever during distance learning.

She also share her favorite books for young children, ones that promote a positive self-image. They are Kamala and Maya's Big Idea by Meena Harris, Rainbow Weaver by Linda Elovitz Marshall, and Off to See the Sea by Nikki Grimes.

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Yamaguchi also shared that her teen daughters have launched a clothing line in response to recent attacks on Asian Americans. The surge in hate crimes is painful to the Japanese American, whose own grandparents were interned in internment camps during World War II.

She is excited that her 15-year-old daughter Emma is following her skate steps into the competitive skating world, and says she now understands the nerves her own mother must have felt while watching Kristi compete.

Watch the full interview with Kristi Yamaguchi in the video player above.
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