Last week, I wrote about an event called Read Across America, which takes place tomorrow, March 2.
If you missed that column, Read Across America is a day to celebrate the joy of reading. It commemorates the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, an author famous for making reading fun. He entertained generations of kids with his whimsical rhymes.
My love for reading all started with Busytown books by Richard Scarry. You may have seen them: illustrated books of cats, dogs, rabbits and other creatures, all busy at work–driving trucks, flying planes, building towns and working on farms. I’d open one of these books and, as Dr. Seuss would say, I’d “think and wonder, wonder and think,” imagining how it would feel to be at the places on those pages.
As an adult, I can’t think of many things I am more thankful for than my love of reading. I learned to love reading because my parents and my teachers encouraged me to read, to explore and learn.
Tomorrow, you can join teachers, community members and parents to encourage kids to develop their own love for reading simply by reading with them. Please consider joining in and reading with a kid.
Kids who read regularly have higher success rates in school and beyond! So no excuses—not even smart phones and video games should stop you in your quest to teach kids the love of reading. As Dr. Seuss would say, “Will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.”
I believe that kids who read are kids who will be successful—successful in school, successful in their careers, and successful in life. And I believe it’s up to us, those who love to read, to care enough to teach others. As Dr. Seuss says, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Speaking of caring, I’d like to take a minute to thank everyone in Ukiah who has worked around the clock to make sure our community had a winter shelter for those less fortunate than ourselves.
At the center of this effort is Ukiah’s Homeless Services Advisory Group (HSAG). HSAG is a collection of committed community members who meet year round to plan, obtain financing, and host our winter shelter. Because of their great work, people who would otherwise live outdoors have a warm and safe place to stay each night.
If you’re interested in helping, please remember that giving money directly to those on the streets rarely helps. When we give directly, many transients simply use our money to buy alcohol, methamphetamine, or other drugs. The use of alcohol and drugs leads to violence. If transients can’t afford alcohol and drugs, our community will be safer.
Instead, consider the many community groups and organizations who work year round to provide homeless services: they are the ones who need and deserve our financial support.
Consider Plowshares. Located at 1346 S. State Street in Ukiah, Plowshares offers two free hot meals each day. Contributions to Plowshares help provide meals at their S. State Street location and via their Meals on Wheels program that takes food to home-bound seniors in the Ukiah area. You can learn more by calling 462-8582 or visiting www.plowsharesfeeds.org.
Another great place to donate locally is the Ukiah Food Bank. Our local food bank is located at 888 N. State Street in Ukiah, and their phone number is 707-462-8879. The food bank is an essential service that provides food for people who may otherwise go hungry. The food bank can always use your help.
If you love our community and want to make it a better place, please consider giving to these great organizations.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.