Going Global

By: Meryl Conant
By: Meryl Conant

It's a literacy program with roots here in the Valley, but now it wants to spread its wings.

Its theme is that increasing literacy means decreasing crime, get kids turning the pages and stop them from turning to crime. One Waynesboro police officer is turning his attention globally.

There's barely space for Officer Mark Kearney in his own office these days. It's overrun with books for the second annual Book 'Em event. But to Kearney, it's only the program's prologue.

"The goal over time is to turn this Waynesboro event into national programs," Kearney said.

He's already started the ball rolling in Alabama and is currently talking to authors in England. While he's looking across the map, he's staying focused on putting Waynesboro on it.

"One of the criteria is that any other place where they host a program, they always have to reference Waynesboro, Virginia," Officer Kearney explained. "It will be on their posters, in their media releases and just reference what we started here."

Also, police departments must always be running the show.

"If law enforcement everywhere got behind these programs and they made a difference in their communities and it just spread around this county, a tremendous different everywhere could be made," Kearney said.

This year the Book 'Em event is October 22 and 23. You can go to www.bookemfoundation.org for more information.

Five percent of all proceeds from Book 'Ems held elsewhere will return home to Waynesboro.


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