The City of Waynesboro, VA
Shenandoah Crime Stoppers;
of the Library - Staunton, Augusta County, Waynesboro;
Valley Reading Council
used for increasing literacy rates, decreasing crime, and helping
police solve unsolved crimes
first got the idea for a charity book fair while signing books
for the Virginia Crime Stoppers Association. She was the first
author to be endorsed by the organization, and was traveling
throughout the state promoting Crime Stoppers and donating proceeds
from the sale of her books to local Crime Solvers, Crime Stoppers,
and Crime Line organizations.
While conducting a signing in
Staunton, Virginia, she met Officer Mark Kearney of the Waynesboro
Police Department, shown here with p.m.terrell and Robert Trayer,
who serves on the Board of Directors of the Central Shenandoah
It occurred to Terrell that if
she could raise hundreds of dollars for Crime Stoppers by herself,
she could raise even more awareness for the job they perform
and even more money for their cause, if she was joined by a few
of her author friends.
Robert Trayer, p.m.terrell,
Officer Mark Kearney
Officer Kearney took the idea
to Chief Doug
Davis, who had recently relocated to Waynesboro from
Chief Davis is a very forward-thinking
person who loved the idea of the police department hosting an
Officer Kearney also took the
idea to Lianne Crookshanks, Director of the Department
of Tourism in Waynesboro, who in turn took the idea to
the City Manager and Mayor.
Everyone was in agreement: a
charity book fair was good for the community.
Officer Mark Kearney
Chief of Police Doug Davis
p.m.terrell thought of the title
'Em" while Officer
Kearney added the tag line "Buy a Book and Stop a Crook".
this time, both Kearney and terrell learned of the connection
between high illiteracy rates and high crime rates. In Florida,
some juvenile court justices had begun requiring juvenile offenders
to increase their reading skills. Some forward-thinking authors,
such as Agnes
Hagen and Charlene
Hudgins Klima, were even going into prisons and teaching
inmates how to read. In one study, the average reading level
of an adult male inmate was below the sixth grade. By teaching
prisoners how to read better, they qualified for better paying
jobs. And by teaching juvenile offenders reading skills, they
could possibly avoid a life of crime altogether.
Officer Kearney asked two literary
groups if they would like to participate in Book 'Em -- the Reading
Council and Friends of the Library -- joining the Central Shenandoah
Crime Stoppers as the three non-profits who would receive proceeds
from the event.
terrell sketched a Book 'Em logo
and gave it to her good friend, Bonnie
Watson, who came up with the design that is now the official
Book 'Em logo.
During the planning phase for
the first event, which took place on October 23, 2004, p.m.terrell
and Officer Kearney received so many inquiries from organizations
who wanted to do the same thing that they believed it would be
prudent to form a non-profit organization, The Book 'Em Foundation.
The mission of The Book 'Em Foundation is to raise awareness
of the link between high illiteracy rates and high crime rates,
and to work with other non-profits such as the Reading Council
and Friends of the Library to increase literacy rates, and with
Crime Stoppers to assist police in solving crimes. The 2004-2005
Executive Board of Directors includes Mark
Kearney, President; Patricia
Terrell, 1st Vice President/ Treasurer, and Laura
Maine, 2nd Vice President/ Secretary. Mark and Laura
will begin a Literacy Pilot Program in Waynesboro
during the summer of 2005. We will have more details on this
In addition, The Book 'Em Foundation
has plans underway to work with juvenile court justices in another
pilot program that would increase the reading skills of juvenile
offenders in the Central Shenandoah region.
All of the money for The Book
'Em Foundation is received through personal donations and fund-raisers.
No taxpayer dollars and no government funds are used.
|On November 10,
2004, The Book 'Em Foundation signed a 20-year agreement with
the City of Waynesboro, ensuring that Book 'Em will be an annual
event in Waynesboro, Virginia through the year 2025.
It is the Foundation's goal to
increase the attendance and the media coverage of the annual
Book 'Em event and raise sufficient funds to aid communities
in increasing the literacy rates of both adults and children,
to help police reduce crime, and to assist in solving crimes
when they do occur.
While Waynesboro, Virginia will
always be the birthplace of Book 'Em and the largest event of
its type, the Foundation would also like to expand the event
into different regions of the country, such as the West Coast
and the Midwest and the Deep South, so the Annual Book 'Em Event
can take place on the same day each year in multiple areas of
|Be sure to check
this web site periodically, as we will post successes and progress
made in combating crime and increasing literacy skills. Until
then... settle in to your favorite easy chair and read a good