Wednesday, September 2, 2009


So last week, after pledging my Five I combed through the comments section and was thrilled to see so many of you jumping on board and listing yours too! And it got me thinking about just how much we all stand to learn from each other on this journey. So, if any of you have any good tips, stories, sites, or charities you want to share, please feel free to sing it out in the comments section—I’d love to hear your suggestions!

And wouldn’t you know it, just a few days after my post I received a lovely e-mail from Officer Mark Kearney, the Crime Prevention Officer for the Waynesboro Police Department in Waynesboro, Virginia, as well as the President of the Book ‘Em Foundation, regarding his annual Book ‘Em Literacy event which takes place on Saturday, October 17, 2009—and his request fit right in with my pledge toward Random Acts of Charity, Random Acts of Kindness, and vow to post about What's Going Right in the World.

Book ‘Em is the first book event ever to be held and hosted by a police department, and their goal is to spread it around the world, highlighting the connection between illiteracy/poor reading skills and crime rates. He’s also started about half a dozen literacy programs that he’s working on to spread to law enforcement agencies around the world, and the proceeds raised from the event are returned to various literacy programs, which help reduce crime and hopefully improve society as a whole. He also started a "BE a Reader, Cops in School Reading Program" where police officers go into elementary school classes to read to children.

In addition, he has another program where a publishing company donates books and he goes to all the English classes for the local 7th graders, 8th graders, 9th graders and 10th graders and gives monthly talks. At each talk, he gives a student a free book, and over the past several years has passed out over 20,000 books.

He also gives talks to prisoners on how they can help themselves through reading and education, as well as donating books to the prison libraries. And, as if that wasn’t enough, he also has other programs targeting “at-risk” teens, and he works with young, elementary school children where he provides them with free books and takes groups of them out on nature walks to help promote their love of nature.

So far he’s spread the Book ‘Em event to New Hampshire and South Carolina and has no plans to stop there.

To say I was touched by his efforts is putting it mildly. And while I unfortunately won’t be able to attend the event this year (but hopefully next!), I’m planning to send him a box full of books, and I’ve got my awesome publisher, St. Martin’s Press, on board to do the same.

So, if any of you would also like to donate, you can send books to:

Waynesboro Police Department
Attn: Officer Mark Kearney
250 S. Wayne Ave, Suite 102, Box 3
Waynesboro, VA 22980

So, that's my Five for the week. What about You? Are you ready to Live Your Five?


  1. I'm glad you're helping out! I already donate here to my aunt's charity. It's called Operation Smile :-) I'm also participating GK77. We help build houses here and paint them. It's a great way to help! I'm only in HS, but I love doing Saturday Services. The kids' smiles are SOOOOOOOO worth it!

  2. Hey ReggieWrites- I think it's awesome that you're only in high school and already thinking about, taking part in, and enjoying these things! Keep up the good work!

  3. That sounds like a great organization and it is really good of you to help them promote literacy!

  4. It's a great foundation, especially when it has a lot to deal with books. I hope lots of people attend the event as well as donating books ^^

  5. I love what they're doing to help! Especially the spread of literacy, books open doors to so many wonderful worlds and inspiring tales that can educate us, fill us with hope and love or just rock the socks off us with their awesomeness. It's a wonderful foundation, I'm going to look into it. Glad that it's helped you with one of your five and you're doing your bit to help! :)

  6. That's such a noice and wonderful thing to do. Good job to both of you!

  7. Thanks everyone--I think it's an amazing display of what one person can do to make a difference for so many!

  8. What an awesome foundation and kudos to you for contributing to it, Alyson! I love how we're bringing things like this to each other's attention so we can find new causes that resonate with us. Go you!

  9. Hello Alyson and everyone, I'm Mark Kearney and I want to thank everyone for their kind words. I received a box of books in today from Alyson's publisher as well as author Elizabeth Fais today. I will make sure to put all of these books to good use in hopes of better promoting literacy.

    As I hope all of you realize, books can help to open up another world to many people who read. No matter where you are in the world, if you can help by putting a book into another person's hands, please go for it.

    If you can help a child to light a spark in them to read, please do so.

    I truly think that the more society will read, the better off society will be. So, keep reading and keep supporting all that Alyson is trying to do as well!