Bring ’em Back Alive

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from community leader and Board member Jerry Bellune. We find Mr. Bellune’s enthusiasm to be infectious, do you?

One of my favorite books in the 6th grade was big game hunter and animal trainer Frank Buck’s biography, “Bring “Em Back Alive.”  One of my teachers complimented me for reading a high school level book. Such compliments mean a lot of anyone learning to master reading skills.

Mr. Buck led a colorful life on many continents. That fired my imagination and made me think of adventurous career choices. That was relatively easy for a budding writer as storytelling was a staple in our family.

Thinking back on those early days makes me realize how fortunate many of us are to have been born into families of readers, surrounded by books and encouraged to aspire to any career our little hearts desired. Unfortunately, about one in 10 of us has no such privileges. They grow up in homes with no books, only TV sets, the electronic baby sitter.

Award-winning speaker and business philosopher Jim Rhon (pronounced Rone as in bone) observed that successful people have large libraries. Unsuccessful people have large TVs. My purpose is not to disparage TV. Sesame Street and many other educational programs for children are far better than nothing.

But we should never forget that penologists project how many prison cells will be needed within the next 8 to 10 years by the number of 4th graders who cannot read well.

Turning Pages has played an inspiring role in the lives of many of these unfortunates who some how slipped through the cracks of our great public education system. Your support as a donor or volunteer tutor is welcome. We invite you to join us.