So it was with great excitement that I contacted Belinda Cashwell at the Cumberland County Schools to sign Up & Coming Weekly and Kidsville News! on as sponsors of Reading Rocks. Anything that supports literacy and a love of reading in children is tops in our book (excuse the pun). So, like many Cumberland County residents, we bundled up against the cold and made our way to Festival Park last Saturday.
What we saw was a sight that definitely warmed our hearts, if not our hands. More than 14,000 people braved the cool morning temperatures to take a walk downtown in support of literacy, and more importantly books for our schools and their children. They came in droves. Some were walking, smaller ones were in strollers or wagons, and they all came filled with enthusiasm for the walk ahead.
In the interim, they danced. They sang. They lined up in their groups. Some sported costumes of their favorite book characters. Others wore school colors with pride. To my reckoning, a vast majority of them wore buttons that proudly proclaimed they were “Kidsville Kids!” I should know, I stickered most of them as they walked by.
And as much fun as it was, it wasn’t just about fun. It was about raising money – lots of money for books. Books that can change people’s lives by changing their understanding of the world.
Our staff positioned itself at the entrance of the park to cheer on every school as it began its walk. Yes, we were the crazy people with the big green Dragon – our Kidsville News! mascot Truman. We were the ones shouting at the tops of our voices. Cheering each school one by one as they marched out. Even today, my voice is hoarse and my throat is sore. But every shout out we gave was heartfelt. Reading Rocks was a huge success and that’s something to shout about!!