Together, CPI Security and the HEARTest Yard Foundation are encouraging children in southwest Charlotte to read on National Read Across America Day.
In a recorded video, former All-Pro Carolina Panthers tight end and chairman of the HEARTest Yard Foundation Greg Olsen reads “The Golden Acorn” by Katy Hudson, a short story sharing the important lesson of teamwork. CPI Security purchased 235 copies of the book for each second-grade student at South Pine Academy and Steele Creek Elementary School in Charlotte. The second-grade classes will read along with Olsen on National Read Across America Day. In addition, CPI Security bought extra copies for each school’s student library.
Olsen says he and his wife, Kara, encourage their children to read often. They read regularly to pass time while their son, T.J., was in the hospital receiving treatment for a congenital heart defect, a condition that inspired the start of the HEARTest Yard Foundation.
“There’s only so many things you can do with a boy who’s tied up to an IV and machines, so reading and just exploring his interests and finding books that appealed to him was a good way to pass time for a boy who was stuck in the hospital for two months,” Olsen said.
As a community-invested and locally owned security company that works to make life safer, this is just one way CPI is giving back to the communities it serves with the goal of creating a better tomorrow for us all.
“Here at CPI, we’re all about not only protecting homes and businesses, and families, but the community that we live in and serve,” CEO and Founder of CPI Security Ken Gill said. “And most importantly today, is that we get these younger people up on reading level by the third grade. If they get up to reading level by the third grade, the chances of them graduating high school goes up tremendously, and then they’ll have a more fulfilled life.”
Studies have shown that children who were not reading on-level by the end of third grade were four times more likely to drop out of high school.1 Other studies have shown that high school dropouts commit about 75% of crimes in the U.S.2 CPI Security recognizes that reducing crimes starts with investing in our youth and providing them with the tools they need to live successful lives as adults.
“Reading is so super important because it creates access to so many different things,” South Pine Academy Principal Dianna Newman said. “It’s important for testing, sure. It’s important for schoolwork, for sure. But it’s important for life. It’s a life skill that every student needs to have so what we try to promote at South Pine is that reading is fun, and we want them to get lost in books.”
In late February, CPI Security’s Community Engagement Committee packed CPI swag bags for each second-grade student at South Pine Academy and Steele Creek Elementary School. The swag bags include a copy of “The Golden Acorn,” as well as a CPI notebook, pencil, and sunglasses.
The evening before National Read Across America Day, CPI Security dropped off hundreds of swag bags to each school. Principal Karen Dosier of Steele Creek Elementary School says the school is hosting a spirit week for National Read Across America Day, and this is another way to get kids excited about reading.
“I think that the students are going to be elated to see this gorgeous book “The Golden Acorn,” and I think they’re going to be extra excited to read it, but also to have a special guest read it to them is going to be extra exciting for them,” Principal Dosier said. “So, we appreciate that partnership with CPI. We are grateful you are neighbors and willing to come alongside the great work that our teachers are doing and the great learning that are students are engaging in.”
As part of the CPI Security and HEARTest Yard Foundation partnership, CPI is also donating copies of “Eamonn the Mighty: Zipper Club Warrior: A hero’s tale of defeating CHD” by Kristen Moran to the Family Resource Library at Levine Children’s Hospital. Kristen Moran is a mother whose child was born with a congenital heart defect, just like T.J. Olsen. The book is meant to empower children whose cardiac surgeries left them with a chest scar.
“We’re going to add those [copies of the book] to the library over at the Levine Children’s Hospital. They can hopefully get in the hands of kids like mine, to make an impact on their stay there, and to hopefully make their stay a little easier,” Olsen said.
1 Pre-Kindergarten-Third Grade Literacy – National Conference of State Legislatures
2 The Issue – Students Without Limits