Miami, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/04/2016 -- On Monday, December 21, 2015, The Reading Reformation kicked off it's Indiegogo campaign, Help Our Children Learn To Read Like a Genius. The next day Melvin El was invited to an event at the African American Research Library in Fort Lauderdale, Florida by a friend, DJ Sco. Melvin came to the event unaware of what it was about. When he arrived, he quickly discovered that the event was centered around juvenile delinquents. There were several police and probation officers standing in the aisles. He didn't think much of it, and began looking for DJ Sco. Once he found him, he briefed Melvin on what the event was about. DJ Sco explained that the program was designed to help at risk youth by giving them positive role models and helping them with their anger and self-esteem. He also said that part of the show was having the inspiring positive local rappers perform. So Melvin sat down and watched the show. After the performance the keynote speaker, Keyon Dooling, former NBA player and the coordinator for the I AM Respect Tour began his speech. He began by forming a connection with the audience relaying that he grew up in Fort Lauderdale like many of them. He told his story about how close he was to becoming a juvenile delinquent by making dangerous decisions that could have changed his life forever. Poor decisions started to affect his school life severely. He reminisced about the day when he was in school and a teacher asked him to read aloud in front of his classmates. The teacher knew how uncomfortable he was reading aloud. However, she still asked him to do so. He felt like he was being bullied. He knew how to read but was still uncomfortable speaking in front of his classmates. It was a challenging situation for him but he preserved and went on to finish high school knowing how important education was.
Finally, he ended with one of the most inspiring stories Melvin had ever heard. He tells the story of being sexually abused as a child and how he kept it a secret. This secret cultivated an intense anger that affected every part of his life. Keyon Dooling connected to the audience once again by saying that he understands why many of the teenagers are angry because he carried that same anger. He then went on to say that he found a way to channel the anger he had into something he loved, playing basketball. Basketball became his outlet for his anger and frustrations. So he told the young teenagers in the auditorium to find something you love and channel your anger and frustrations through it and it would change your life for the better. He said it with such passion and certainty that it sent goose bumps up Melvin arms. Melvin was certain that the young juveniles were touched by the inspirational words that he spoke. Melvin thought that his message was so powerful that all inner city schools should invite him out to speak. At the end of the event Melvin was introduced to Mr. Dooling and his team. Upon meeting him Melvin told Mr. Dooling how inspired he was by his message. He thanked Melvin and then asked about his business. Melvin proceeded to tell him that he has a program that utilizes music and phonics to teach children to read and it is so effective that it has been able to teach children to read in 7 days. Mr. Dooling and his mom who was present at the event were amazed at the results and suggested that they find a way to work together. Later, Melvin spoke to one of his team members who was also ecstatic about his program and commented that some of the children might not have been incarcerated if they had a reading program like his when they were in elementary school. Melvin was intrigued by that statement. Was it possible that by simply teaching the children to read, their lives could have gone in a different direction? When Melvin got back home later that night he googled literacy and juveniles and one of the first articles that came up was from the Huffington Post titled: "The U.S. Illiteracy rate hasn't changed in 10 years."
In the article the Huffington Post reports, "according to the Department of Justice, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure." The stats back up this claim: 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and over 70 percent of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level."
After reading the article two questions came to his mind 1. How many of those teenagers at the event were part of that statistic and 2. If they had a program like his could they have avoided becoming a juvenile delinquent? Melvin doesn't believe that it was a coincidence that one day after he kicked off his campaign to teach children to read, he would find himself at an event full of juveniles that could have avoided incarceration if they had a program like his when they were in elementary school. Melvin said this is why his campaign was created and why he is asking for help to prevent more of our children from suffering this fate.
Help our children learn to read like a genius
The U.S.Illiteracy Rate Hasn't Changed In 10 Years
The Reading Reformation Inc.
5800 NW 7 Avenue, Suite 212
Miami, Florida 33127