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Dallas Mavericks legend Rolando Blackman reads to Dallas children. Blackman is championing the "Change a Child's Story" digital fundraising campaign.

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is teaming up with Central Market/H-E-B along with local basketball legends and a bright young star of the game to celebrate the launch of its ‘Change a Child’s Story’ digital fundraising campaign.  Change a Child’s Story is an eight-week effort culminating with a United Way-themed Dallas Mavericks game night on March 7th.  The campaign’s goal is to put thousands of books into the hands of North Texas children who need them, while generating awareness about the critical role books play in a child’s education.

Through www.unitedwaydallas.org, Change a Child’s Story invites individuals to make a $5 donation, pledge to read to a child for 20 minutes a day, volunteer to read at local schools on nationally-recognized Dr. Seuss Reading Day, and share the campaign across social media networks. Salesforce.org will donate $1 for every like, follow or share.

“Central Market and H-E-B are dedicated to growing young minds through the power of reading and improving literacy rates across the state,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B Group Vice-President Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs.  “Since 2011, H-E-B has donated nearly 3 million books to children in need.  And we’re proud to partner with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas in encouraging adults to take an active role in reading to children regularly, ensuring all kids have the opportunity to succeed in school.”

Mavericks legends Rolando Blackman and Brad Davis (the only two Mavericks to have their numbers retired), along with the team’s 2015 first-round draft pick Justin Anderson, will champion the campaign and star in a Change a Child’s Story Public Service Announcement.  Anderson read to local students on Thursday, January 21, celebrating the campaign’s launch.  Anderson read Dr. Seuss books including his favorite Green Eggs and Ham to a group of first-graders at United Way service provider Uplift Education’sPeak Preparatory School.  He was flanked by campaign mascots Ellie the Elephant and Ollie the Owl as he read aloud to kids, helping them develop a love of reading and a love of learning.

With a 38% child poverty rate in Dallas, thousands of local children don’t own one single book.  For a child, reading is critical to the foundation of all future learning.  Children learn to read through 3rd grade, and by 4th grade they read to learn.  Without the necessary verbal, literacy and comprehension skills that reading provides during their early years, starting and staying behind in school can be the inevitable result.

“United Way is committed to ensuring every child in North Texas has the opportunity for a quality education- and sadly, we know not all children have access to books,” said Jennifer Sampson, President and CEO, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.  “We’re asking our community to give generously and pledge to read to a child.  Together, we can help rewrite children’s stories and give them the happy ending they deserve.”

To learn more, please view https://changeachildsstory.unitedwaydallas.org.