A gracious and energetic entrepreneur who cares about good business and good story, Flaherty's interest in launching a film studio dedicated to getting kids excited about good movies and good literature was birthed out of his experiences in education and state government, where he served as a speech writer for William M. Bulger, president of the Massachusetts Senate, and for Tom Reilly, Massachusetts attorney general.
Child literacy and educational readiness are two public policy issues gravely important to Flaherty. When kids learn to read, and read well, other life events fall more easily into place. Research by the nonprofit organization Reach Out and Read supports this.
"Reading difficulty contributes to school failure, which increases the risk of absenteeism, dropping out, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy — all of which perpetuate cycles of poverty and dependency," Flaherty said. He noted that many states look at fourth grade reading levels to help determine the number of prison cells to build.
In the following video clip, Flaherty elaborates on the importance of reading, and he discusses a series of short stories Walden is developing for young boys:
Flaherty's chapel message (delivered May 4, 2010 at SPU) reveals his humor and intelligence as he discusses wide-ranging topics including the educational impact of James Cameron's film Titanic; his real-life adventure of starting Walden Media with a friend, and the need for organizations to commit to their mission — especially when other possibilities arise — in order to build something with enduring value.
Watch for two new movies Walden will release later in 2010: