FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
It seems like only yesterday my son was being born. Now he is four years old and it‚Äôs time for us to prepare for him to start kindergarten next year. Recently my wife and I toured Rocky Mount Academy to
get a feeling of how we liked the program that they offer. We were impressed. I love to read and so I was impressed with the library that was available to the students and their access to technology. I started thinking back to how much I enjoyed the vast libraries of books that were available to me when I was young. There were wonderful libraries available to me at home and at my alma maters of Bullock Elementary School, West Edgecombe Middle School and South West Edgecombe High School. Having
access to a wide array of reading material can open a child‚Äôs mind to all of the possibilities that the world has to offer to them.
A few days after our tour of Rocky Mount Academy, I went to the Juvenile Detention Center in Pitt County to visit with a client that I represent in my law practice. I asked him, as I do most of the young people that I represent and come in contact with, what kinds of things has he been reading when you have the time. I was pleased to hear that he does read,but he said that he has tried to read the same book more than once because they do not have a lot to choose from in the detention center. Most of the children being held in the 9 detention center across North Carolina are there because they have been charged with committing a serious crime and while they are waiting to go to trial a judge has decided that it may be too dangerous for the community to let them come home.
These are children who are sometimes at the tipping point of either becoming involved in criminal behavior in their adult life or being productive members of society. I believe that these children need and deserve to have access to as wide an array of reading material as any child in a public or private school in North Carolina. Who knows, a child in a detention center may flip through a book or a magazine and learn about a part of the world they never knew existed or discover a career path they would have never dreamed. The dreams that reading material can inspire can make the difference in weather that child wastes their life in and out of jails at tax payer expense or is sworn in as the future Governor of North Carolina.
I have spoken to the director and staff of the Detention Center in Pitt County and the director and staff physiologist at the Youth Development Center in Edgecombe County They are receptive to and excited about the idea of expanding the libraries that are available to the children there. I am asking all who read this message to consider donating books or an age appropriate magazine subscription to be added to these libraries. Be mindful that our target audience consists of children under the age of 18 and should not include objectionable content that would not be allowed in a school setting.
Donations of reading material can be made at my office ‚Äì The Solomon Law Firm ‚Äì 161 S. Grace Street, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. For more information please review the article in the Community Section of my web site at www.wsolomonlaw.com or call 252- 442-0348. Thank you for helping to create a better North Carolina one child at a time.