CONWAY, Ark. — The Conway Bookcase Project is held every year to spark children's interest in reading at an early age.

Jewelz Lane was one of dozens of 4-year-olds in Conway who left the Faulkner County Library with a gift that will keep on giving.

"I'm so happy," she said.

The Conway Bookcase Project gifts 50 children in Head Start their own personalized bookcase every year.

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"Education is where it's at," founder Jim Davidson said.

Davidson started the effort in the City of Colleges in 2005 in hopes of improving literacy rates and giving children a bright future.

"I don't know how long the Lord's going to leave me here but I hope I can make a difference," Davidson said.

He's helped over 2,000 similar projects start nationwide.

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"You need to be able to read and be proficient in communication and the way to be that person that's a real success, generally speaking, is a reader," Davidson said.

Each child is also given a set of starter books and a stuffed animal they can read aloud to.

"I'm looking forward to reading books and loading the bookshelf up," Shalunda Lane said.

This project is all done with volunteers and the money for the supplies is raised at an annual banquet.

President of Conway's Hendrix College shared his own reading journey with children, parents, and Head Start teachers as the keynote speaker of the 15th Annual Bookcase Awards Ceremony.

For now, Jewelz ' mom is excited to get her daughter's reading journey started.

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"I have five children, mind you, and they all love to read. They all have library cards. She doesn't yet but she will get one," Lane said.

Davidson hopes in the future this program can be held in more communities around the state.

This Conway based project operates in different cities around the country.


Click here to find out more about its other locations.