We are pleased to announce that Former First Lady Laura Bush has agreed to be the honorary chairperson for The Big Read Dallas.
Dallas Independent School District loses, on average, 20 percent of its enrollment between the ninth and tenth grades. Research shows that this is the critical point at which students decide whether to continue and complete their education, or withdraw from school. While it may seem a modest ambition to convert a single student, we will consider the program successful if we do so, and we are taking the view that no matter how broad the reach, reading and citizenship are achieved one young man or woman at a time.
As a secondary agenda, we will use The Big Read Dallas to harness the time, talent, and stewardship of Dallas Gen X and Y individuals to fold them into the community of volunteerism and community involvement. We acknowledge that these generations need unique arenas in which to operate, and that their approach will focus on grassroots activity, social media, networking, multi-media, creative messaging, and one-on-one opportunities to contribute to the city. We will consider The Big Read Dallas a success if we are able to mobilize new segments of Gen X and Gen Y leadership, and introduce these individuals to local leaders, mentors, DISD, and city of Dallas influencers.
Funding is a crucial aim at this juncture. In addition to $150,000 in in-kind donations from D Magazine, we need $120,000 to forge and operate the 2013 program, measure it, and refine it for the future. The FoDPL and D Academy received one of 78 NEA Big Read grants, among a pool of 1,500 applicants for $15,000. D Magazine and the FoDPL have also made cash donations, and via the Communities of North Texas Foundation drive this fall, we raised $9,000.
With the expenses associated with a project of this scope, including purchasing books for DISD students, the ability to successfully execute The Big Read Dallas relies heavily on the generosity of the citizens and corporations of Dallas.