No. 1106



It is often said that we must first have a dream, before we can have a dream come true. If you have ever had something that was so important to you that you actually dreamed about it and in time this dream came true, you will understand, and even appreciate, what I want to share with you. At this time I am in the process of writing a book titled, “My Heart-Felt Passion” that I hope will live on long after I am gone. My heart-felt passion is literacy, helping children in low-income families learn to read early in life and develop a passion for reading that will last for a lifetime. The truth is, highly successful people are readers, and the losers in life, for the most part, are not readers.
Whether you realize it or not, what I am saying affects you and every other person in our nation. When I observe what is happening in our society today, with regards to crime and personal behavior, I believe so very strongly that the root cause is illiteracy. My heart breaks when I watch the local newscasts and see all the reports of robbery, murder, purse snatchings, riots and a plethora of other senseless acts, that show a complete lack of concern for the safety and welfare of other people. Again, the root cause for much of this is illiteracy.
Here in my hometown of Conway, Arkansas, back in 2005, a group of our local citizens started a bookcase literacy project as a way to combat this problem and turn potential losers into real winners. We build 50 personalized oak bookcases and give them to children in our local Head Start program. We also give them a starter set of children’s books to go with the bookcases. This is an all-volunteer project and no one earns a penny for their time, talents and other contributions. The great thing about our project is that it does not take much money, as our only expense is the money to buy the wood and other building materials. In fact, it only takes from $3,000 to $5,000 to build or buy the 50 bookcases.
While I certainly had some help, the first three years I raised most of this money by selling one of my books and calling on our banks, hospital, city-owned utility and other local citizens to give us a donation. Then in 2008, the Lord gave me what I believe was the best idea I had ever received in terms of funding the project and insuring the long-term success of making sure it continued. This idea was to have an annual Bookcase Literacy Banquet and invite our local citizens to come together for the cause of literacy. The ticket price for each person who attended was, and still is, $15.95 and includes a delicious meal, great local entertainment and an opportunity to “Give Back” for the cause of literacy.
It is important to hold this event in a public venue where everyone who attends feels comfortable. We use one of our fine public school cafeterias, and have now for the past nine years. Again, the real purpose is not only to raise money, but a coming together of our local people to be better informed about the need. This also gives them a chance to participate and get involved.
The truth is, most people have no idea how serious this problem really is and what it is costing the individuals who are illiterate and the rest of society that suffers a rising crime rate and billions of dollars of lost productivity.
My dream and my passion is that, in time, we will have Bookcase Literacy Banquets taking place in cities and towns all across America. All it takes to get a project started is just one person who has a passion. Go to our website: for more information.
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)