A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Laura Eckroat

Laura-EckroatBorn and raised in Indiana, until she moved to Denver and then eventually to Atlanta, Laura Eckroat has always been dedicated to her community. With her daughter, Ashley, attending college in Virginia and her son-in-law, Forrest, in the US Navy, Eckroat has found more time to follow her passion for helping people.

After a lot of soul searching, Eckroat was able to find a job that she was passionate about when she became a teacher. She enjoys sharing her love of reading and writing with people and for the past thirteen years, Eckroat has been able to do so as a teacher in various schools. However, she currently works as a Kindergarten teacher at Manara Academy in Irving, TX where she has been for the past two years.

"After years of searching, I finally found my passion," Eckroat said. "I love watching children learn to read and write. It truly is something to see them get excited when they can pick up a book and read it. Or when I write the morning writing prompts on the boards – they can read that, grab their writing journal, and write nearly a paragraph in response! I really enjoy being a teacher and I love sharing my passion for reading and writing with them."

In her free time, Eckroat volunteers at the Fort Worth Nature Center in Fort Worth, TX. There she does story time and nature workshops for children using her picture books. Having grown up living near Lake Michigan, George Lake, and Wolf Lake, Eckroat has always loved nature and wanted to pass that on to younger generations. So, naturally, she looked for a place that she could go to watch nature – The Nature Center.

"On year when I was little, Lake Michigan had frozen over, and my dad took my sister and I on walk out onto the Lake. It was eerie, but so incredibly beautiful," Eckroat said. "I wanted to share that sense of wonder for nature with younger generations. And I'm so glad that I have the opportunity to do that."

In the remainder of her free time, Eckroat enjoys writing. Currently, she has had four children's books published. Her first book, The Life of Bud, written in honor of her father, won the North Texas Book Festival award for Best Children's Book in 2010, and was also featured in a Dallas child magazine. Her other books are A Simpler Time, Went Out to Get a Donut – Came Home with a Muffin, and What's in the Corner – A Muffin "Tail". All of her books have a free audio download that comes with the book and are available through Amazon and TatePublishing.com.

When she's not writing or teaching youth in varying capacities, Eckroat loves to spend time with her family and their two dogs, Muffin and Shadow.