Imagine No Illiteracy

By Bishop Jonathan Holston

“And then I heard the voice of the Master: whom shall I send? Who will go for us? I spoke up. I’ll go. Send me!”—Isaiah 6:8 (The Message)

Recently, I attended a meeting where my attention span was uniquely challenged. It was the kind of meeting where you check your watch every 30 seconds or so.

Then a statement was made that captivated my attention. In the midst of my boredom, a colleague raised a question; namely, “Can you imagine no illiteracy?”

Immediately, the memory of our 2014 Million Book Effort came to mind. I remembered a quote from the late Maya Angelou who said, “Any book that helps children form a habit of reading, to make reading one of their deep continuing needs, is good for them.” The question was astounding. Can you imagine no illiteracy in our world? In our nation? In the state of South Carolina? Frankly, this is a “God-sized” dream that I can envision.

Dr. Tammy Pawloski, professor of early childhood education at Francis Marion University, says there is hope for our children “if we change their experiences, give them the resources, support our teachers and administrators, we can change the expectations of our children for the better.”

During the week of Nov. 16-22, we have the opportunity to celebrate National Education Week. It is a perfect time to recognize public education and those who help ensure that every child receives a quality education. It is an excellent time to expand upon the Million Book Effort in South Carolina by sharing a Million Hours Spent with Children. We could volunteer to read in a local school or become a volunteer reading tutor. There are tremendous opportunities to give of your time, talent, gifts, service and witness in the many local community programs which encourage all of our children to develop a love for reading.

Being a child of public school teachers, I have had a “front row seat” to the importance of reading. The ability to read is the basis of a sound education. The late Nelson Mandela said it this way: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

Having said that, will you join me in an effort to volunteer a million hours with children? We can begin by observing National Education Week in your local community. With your support, we can truly imagine no illiteracy!

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