Holiday Giving: A message from CEO Mark Claypool

Date: December 9, 2011

I am excited about our scheduled holiday activities, and I believe that they contribute greatly to our holiday spirit. With the festivities in full swing, I wanted to provide an update on our charitable giving campaign.

All money raised from ESA holiday activities this season will again benefit Book‘em, a nonprofit children’s literacy organization located in Nashville. Book’em’s mission is to collect and distribute books to children and teens who are in lower-income families and to provide volunteer readers to local preschools and elementary schools.

Not only is this organization one to be respected and admired, but I am also a personal supporter of this group. I serve as a volunteer reader and as a member of the board of directors for Book’em here in Nashville.

I am a strong supporter of their efforts because, as you know, I believe that education is the best tool our nation has to prevent a lot of major problems like poverty and crime.

Our work at ESA is geared toward helping kids who have already had significant problems get back on track and receive a quality education. Book’em’s mission is to work with elementary students who are at risk and teach them the value of reading before they get into trouble.

A child’s ability to read is one of the most significant predictors of his or her future. When planners look to the future need for prison beds in a community, they first look at fourth-grade reading levels because that tells them what to expect in eight-10 years.

When kids can’t read, they will struggle throughout their lives and are much more likely to engage in destructive behaviors later on. For these reasons, I believe the efforts of Book’Em are a natural fit to receive our support.

Therefore, I am happy to announce that ESA will match all money that is collected. This is a terrific way to raise awareness and needed funding for an organization that shares our mission by making literacy a top priority with our local youth.

Thank you to everyone who has already contributed to this noble charity. It is unselfish giving that uplifts the holiday spirit. With your generosity, you are helping the fight against youth illiteracy and positively impacting the Nashville community, too.

With the warmest of holiday spirit and gratitude,

Mark Claypool

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