The Line That Connects: Good Deeds Tackle Early-Childhood Literacy

Rashied Davis reads to a group of children in Pritzker Park

With education in the minds of many Chicago parents, teachers, students and citizens as the new school year approaches, a challenge to reach 100,000 good deeds came in the form of connecting art to action. This effort, known as the GO DO GOOD campaign, provides a positive way for Chicagoans to actively participate in improving education in our city. The campaign, led by United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and the Chicago Loop Alliance, kicked off last month with the unveiling of a mural created by Midwestern artist Kay Rosen. Each month of the 100-day campaign is driven to give kids the tools they need to thrive in school, including literacy, healthy eating and back-to-school this June, July and August. This month marked Literacy as its theme, encouraging participation in various book-drives throughout the city. On Thursday, June 23, a Read-In featuring Chicago Bears player, Rashied Davis took place at Pritzker Park in the Loop. Davis, whose own charity, Rashied Davis Charities, supports early-childhood literacy, welcomed over 50 children by reading one of his daughter’s favorite childhood books to the group. At the close of the event, each child received a library card, a copy of the book read and a newfound love of reading. “I’m honored that CLA asked me to be apart of the GO DO GOOD campaign.  I enjoy doing anything helping children accomplish goals and dreams in life,” explained Rashied. “Education is very important to my wife and I so anytime we can get involved with teaching children the importance of reading we are all over it.  Students that perform well in school become more productive members of society so it is our job as adults to get them ready for life.  It is to our benefit as well.” As part of the GO DO GOOD campaign, the Read-In at Pritzker Park, served to emphasize the importance of literacy and a child’s preparedness upon entering school. Literacy is a cornerstone in a child’s academic achievement, shaping how effectively and efficiently an individual learns. But today, 46% of kids start school without the skills they need to learn. Even more daunting, the larger the gap at school entry the harder it is to close. With donations made through GO DO GOOD, as well as our new Education Initiative, United Way will support programs that ensure children enter school ready to learn and support kids in their successful transition into high school. However, the impact and breadth of the campaign relies on your participation! Over the next couple months opportunities to donate food in promotion of proper nutrition, as well as a stuff-the-bus school supplies event will take place in the heart of downtown. We will be counting the GOOD deeds on our website, as well as with black and yellow displays on State St. The website also features a “Deeds and Deals” section suggesting ways in which you can help us reach 100,000. With the help and support of our community, our hope is to send our children to school with the tools they need to succeed.