Dallas, TX,
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Books Open the Eyes of the Imagination

Read Across America Day offers opportunity to give back.

The pages of a book take its reader on an adventure through time, enhance knowledge and open the mind to new ideas and perspectives.

The words in books paint pictures, add depth and tell stories completely.

National Read Across America Day is celebrated on March 2, the birthday of author Ted Geisel, who we all knew growing up as Dr. Seuss. Created in 1998, the National Education Association estimates 45 million parents, students and educators across the country will participate in

a day dedicated to raising awareness and challenging children and young adults across the United States to read.

A team from State Farm® was in Dallas for a meeting earlier this year. The team was looking to turn an act of good into a team-building opportunity.

“We wanted to spend some of our time together giving back to the local community,” says Claims Manager Rashawnda Harvey. “But when we looked at NeighborhoodofGood.com®, there weren’t any opportunities still available over the course of the meeting.”

They were not dissuaded. They turned their search to local online news outlets. They discovered the City of Dallas was running a book donation drive to ensure children staying at Dallas Life, a Dallas homeless shelter, had books.

“Everybody coming to the meeting brought two books each,” Rashawnda says. “We had a great variety, from preschool age to young adults in high school; educational books and fun children’s stories, some history and others that featured animals.”

They presented more than 35 books to the shelter.

Dallas Life Executive Director Bob Sweeney said they often see children come to the shelter unsure why they are there. Then they sit up on a bed, open a book and become transformed to a place that lets them know they are going to be OK.

“We genuinely appreciated the opportunity to really make a difference,” Rashawnda says. “I selected children’s stories that were centered on Black History, and a fairy tale about the journey of a little girl throughout her life. I looked for books to give these children an opportunity to escape their current reality and have some fun, and a book they could identify with.”

“In a world with so much turmoil, to be able to give back to the community in such a unique and thoughtful way is what makes us human,” says Claims Manager Krista Spader. “I have three children. When my youngest leaves for school I still say things like, ‘Be Kind – Be Bold!’ and I get the older kids to be the change you want to see in the world. This reinforces in them I am walking the walk.

“The smallest gestures have the largest impact,” she adds. “Even when it is one person at a time performing one act of good at a time.”