No. 844



Someone once said that children are natural mimics -- they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners. Children, sometimes called kids, are the centerpiece of millions of homes in our nation. In America, the value we place on children, and life, is far greater than the rest of the world’s population. In fact, the sanctity of life is at the very heart of who we are as a people. Most parents would do anything to help their children succeed, but often fail to help them develop a love for the most basic skill of all, and that is to teach them to read – to read well and to develop the joy of reading. In view of our ranking in the world’s educational standing, there is plenty of work to be done.
The most vulnerable of all of our nation’s children are those being reared in low-income homes, as most do not have any books for them to read, even if they had a desire to read. This is the basis and purpose of our Bookcase for Every Child project that we started here in Conway back in 2005. At our next awards ceremony, we will present 50 more bookcases and a starter set of books, and this will bring the total to 400 children who will have their very own personalized bookcase and some books. Our story was told in a front-page feature article in the American Profile magazine in August 2011. Since this publication has a readership of more than 10 million, we got wide national exposure. The front cover contained a photo of a child standing beside her bookcase with the words A Bookcase for Every Child: Arkansas town promotes literacy one kid at a time.
As a result of this article, I am pleased to tell you that our bookcase family is growing. After all the local organization for the project is done, we provide seed money and a set of bookcase plans to help them get started. We now have projects either up and running or getting organized to start in Conway, Wynne, Greenbrier, Mayflower and El Dorado in Arkansas; Cleveland and Delaware County (Jay) in Oklahoma; DeKalb, Ill.; and Ashland, Ohio. My point is simply this: As these new projects get going, it will also be “One Kid at a Time.” It is hard for some people to understand why we don’t use any grant money. If money would solve the problem of illiteracy, we would not be where we are in the world standings because we have spent billions of dollars on education. Of course you can never get an education if you can’t read.
While money is necessary to fund our schools and colleges, we don’t need much money because our project is all about giving back. We just need enough money to buy the wood and supplies to build the bookcases. That’s it. We need parents to read to their children, and buy them good books. We need communities who will place a high priority on academics.
Let me show you how God works. We have a wonderful lady over in Oklahoma who is doing a great job getting a project organized. She told me she was having a hard time getting a particular school superintendent on board. She said she had been to see him several times but without success. She said her next move was to attend a school board meeting and make her case there. Then, this superintendent saw a feature on a Tulsa television station about a project that was taking place in another community. He later said to her, “Is this the project you have been trying to tell me about?” She said, “Yes, it is.” He went on to say, “I am going to get all the superintendents in the county here in my office and I want you to come and tell us about it.”
You may say this was luck or providence, but I say, this is how God works.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)