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?