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The Improbable Story of Max Rhymes

How Max Rhymes Started

The story behind Max Rhymes is not only tumultuous, but had it not been my own, I may never have believed someone would make such a radical, and dare I say, reckless move. Yet here I am!

In January 2006, after nearly 20 years building a successful Insurance business, I felt something was amiss. Should I be doing something else with my life with more meaning and purpose?

In some serendipitous way, I began a path of exploration into the world of personal development. i.e.: quantum physics, epigenetics, mind/body connection, etc. I was reading and watching everything by Tony Robbins, Joe Dispenza, Wayne Dyer, and so forth.

Then, one day, my wife Jackie, an elementary school teacher since 1987, says, “We should write children’s books.” Over her long tenure, she noticed her students coming to school with fewer and fewer of the common social values previous generations had been taught at home; and this was hindering their growth, not only in the classroom, but in life.

However, not knowing how to fix that problem, I rejected the idea and said, “I don’t want to write children’s books. There are plenty of children’s books in the world.”

Then, one night, Jackie and I were both reading in bed. I was reading The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton, PhD., the authority in the science of epigenetics. Suddenly, it hit me! I said, “Oh, my God Jackie, you were right!” I then read her the page on early brainwaves and how 95% of our behavioral patterns are established by the age of 7. This was so powerful that suddenly I knew we HAD to write children’s books. But not just any books. Books that could and would make a difference in a child’s life.

We combined Jackie’s 20+ years in early education with my decade of research in human behavior, child programming, and the gift of rhyming. She knew what kids would like, and I had the science. We recalled how after 50-plus years we could still recite Humpty Dumpty. So, if we used the power of rhymes, combined with meaningful lessons, which affirmed a new positive belief, we could create life changing foundational building blocks. As we embarked on this new project, it became clear Max Rhymes was going to be larger than us.

After a few years of development, I concluded we should downsize our house and expenses. I would be sacrificing a lot of time away from my business and therefore income along with spending a lot of money to create this project. Plus, our kids were getting close to college. What would that cost? I figured it was better to be proactive versus creating more stress. Having said that, it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was the hardest decision we’ve ever made. Should we really GIVE UP OUR DREAM HOUSE TO HELP PEOPLE WE DON’T EVEN KNOW AND WILL NEVER EVEN MEET? And with no guarantee people will even care about Max Rhymes! But, deep down, I knew I had to. And I knew Max Rhymes could and would have a huge impact in early education on the next generation.

After finishing our books, I contacted Dr. Bruce Lipton, PhD, and shared our story. He enthusiastically endorsed the Max Rhymes books (you should see the video testimonial he gave us) and also shares them with his community.

In February 2019, while attending Tony Robbins Business Mastery, I got this overwhelming feeling that I should sell my business. As if moving wasn’t stressful enough! I now had to make another monumental decision: Do I sell my business which a) pays the bills, b) affords college for 3 kids, and c) funds Max Rhymes?

It was now June 2019, and I still hadn’t sold my business. Quite frankly, it was just too scary! How could I walk away from a 30-year business I created from scratch, not knowing how, or if, this would work?

Well, in June of 2020 I did sell the business, and we were all-in with Max Rhymes!

Just prior to this, an old college friend re-entered my life. He wanted to help get Max Rhymes in the ecommerce space which Jackie and I knew nothing about. After learning about our journey, he too became obsessed with the idea of how Max Rhymes could help children, especially those in “at-risk” communities. Our initial plan was to build up the ecommerce to self-perpetuate funding for the non-profit. We dove in, and the ecommerce went well. In fact, we managed to generate over $250,000 in sales and received 400+ 5-Star reviews from parents and grandparents from across the country. But it was a grind, had no margins, and it just didn’t feel right. We didn’t mind working long hours if it was enjoyable. But it wasn’t!

That’s when we made the shift to go 100% as a 501(c)3 non-profit. It’s wonderful because now we measure things by how many children we help! Plus, knowing we have created the first and only children’s book series teaching positive behaviors, -all through the power of rhymes, which teach children to believe in themselves, respect themselves, and respect those around them, -well…enough said.

These are crucial, foundational building blocks in early education. And we now have hard data to back us up and the metrics to prove that Max Rhymes does indeed work!

How did we get these metrics?

Amazingly, an educator from North Carolina found out about Max Rhymes from a colleague. This, after searching for 3 years to fulfill a state law requiring the teaching of social and emotional learning. We didn’t even know about social and emotional learning, but apparently the Max Rhymes’ series fit the definition like a glove.

She contacted me and asked if I would send 2,500 books AND pay for shipping, in hopes that her grant would come in -but had no guarantees. Wait? You want me to send 2,500 books AND pay for shipping and you have no money??? That would sound crazy to any normal person, but something inside me prompted me to do it.

So, I did. And now 4 years later, we’ve continued to provide them with books each year and am happy to report they’ve always paid. Our tools became the cornerstone of their 5-week kindergarten summer program called “Pathway To One” to help transition the kids to first grade. In the second year, they hired an independent statistician to aggregate the data from the entry test to the exit test on their students, and the results were incredible. 10-25% increases in almost every category.

Elizabeth, the educator from North Carolina, having experienced first-hand and seeing the enormous impact Max Rhymes could have on children beyond NC, is now our Director of Education.

At this point, I will indeed say it was worth the blood, sweat, and all that money needed to launch Max Rhymes. The fulfillment and joy we now have is beyond measure.

What started out in 2017 as a pilot program at one school in Oakland, CA., has now expanded into 20 States, 45 Cities, 351 Classrooms and over 142,000 Max Rhymes Books in tiny little hands.

Our MOTTO, “Once ADOPTED Always ADOPTED,” has become a cornerstone in our mission. It’s through this saturation of returning yearly to the same teachers, and providing our tools and programs at zero cost to the schools, is how we can reverse this trend and hopefully one day help break the cycle of poverty.

We have an educational crisis on our hands here in the United States, and while we are not “THE” solution, we have certainly become part of “A”solution.

With your support, we can continue to expand our reach into more “at-risk” communities. And we hope that after reading our story, you have the confidence to place your hard-earned money, your time, and your expertise to help expand our reach.

Thank you, for your time and consideration.



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