Davidson receives Community Service Award

Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer Published November 24, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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Carol Rolf/Contributing Photographer

State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, left, presents Jim Davidson with a Senate Citation as he honors Davidson with the Conway Community Service Award. Davidson is the founder of A Bookcase for Every Child, a program that aims to help decrease literacy by encouraging reading at an early age.

CONWAY — Jim Davidson, founder of A Bookcase for Every Child, was honored with a Conway Community Service Award on Monday at the Faulkner County Library. The award was presented by state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway.

Rapert has re-initiated the Community Service Award program that was started several years ago by former state Sen. Gilbert Baker.

“Our goal with the Community Service Award is to recognize those in our community that are making a difference in the lives of others, those who might otherwise go unnoticed by the public,” Rapert said. “These are our community heroes and servants.”

Davidson received a Senate Citation signed by President Pro Tempore Michael Lamoureux and by Rapert.

“ [Davidson] is a good man, and the world would be a better place if we had many more people just like him,” Rapert said.

Davidson founded A Bookcase for Every Child in Conway in 2005. It is an all-volunteer, committee-led project committed to providing quality, personalized bookcases and a starter set of preschool books to children from low-income families in the community. The project’s purpose is to encourage reading at an early age in order to help decrease illiteracy.

The program begins in October of each year with a dinner to raise funds for materials that are used to build the bookcases. Volunteers then build the bookcases, and in April, the bookcases are distributed at the annual awards ceremony held at the library.

No one makes any money on the project, nor does it receive any sort of funding.

“Come April, we will have made and distributed 500 bookcases here in Conway,” Davidson told the small crowd who had gathered for the award ceremony. Among those in the audience were Davidson’s fellow members of the Conway Lions Club and members of the board of directors of A Bookcase for Every Child.

“I know that the person who talks the loudest is often the one who is recognized, but I could not do this without the help of my board,” Davidson said.

“It has been my philosophy over the years to never get too excited about things of this nature because I know that it is always a team effort,” Davidson said. “No honor or award I have ever received would have been possible without the help and support of so many people. To God be the glory.”

A Bookcase for Every Child has spread to other Arkansas communities as well, including Greenbrier and Mayflower in Faulkner County, and Wynne, and into cities in Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio.

Davidson has long said he hopes the program continues to spread not only across Arkansas, but also across the United States.

At Rapert’s request, Davidson is scheduled to make a presentation on A Bookcase for Every Child to the House and State Interim Committees on Education of the Arkansas General Assembly on Dec. 16 at the State Capitol.

For more information on the Conway Community Service Award or to nominate someone for the award, visit communityserviceaward.com.

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