The latest thing to set the Internet on fire was LeVar Burton's Kickstarter campaign to revive and expand his vision for the PBS show Reading Rainbow. Those of you who grew up on a steady diet of public television probably remember watching Burton's enthralling show about children's books and the magical places they could take young readers ... but you don't have to take my word for it (sorry, I couldn't resist).
Burton's Kickstarter project easily met its $1 million goal. In fact, after only two days passed it raised just over $3.4 million and still has 28 days left. Kickstarter campaigns often come with bonuses for donors to entice those with more disposable income to give generously to projects. Burton's is offering 10 people who pledge $10,000 or more to the project to have Burton fly out to the school of their choice and hold a special assembly with the students to read a few books with the kiddies and press the flesh with some of their Trekkie parents. Someone has started a crowdfunding campaign of their own to raise the $10,000 and get
Geordi LeVar to make an appearance at a school in Mesquite, and it's already more than a quarter of the way there.
Jared Guynes, the crowdfunding organizer who gave us Jared's Epic Party, is behind the Reading Rainbow campaign. He returned to Crowdtilt to raise money for Elsie Shands Elementary School to win a spot on Burton's "to-visit" list. The $10,000 donation also offers the chance for the school to be among the first to access the expanded Reading Rainbow app once it's released.
Guynes seems to have an eye for finding new ways to relive his childhood, whether it's reuniting Vanilla Ice with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or throwing an "epic" roller skating party. He admitted that the nostalgia of bringing a staple of children's programming was one of the driving factors for his latest venture.
"I grew up watching PBS," he said. "We did not have cable at my house. Reading Rainbow was one of my very favorite shows along with Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and Sesame Street. After I grew out of the toddler shows, I continued to watch Reading Rainbow through my elementary years. Later I would go on to watch LeVar on Star Trek and he was one of my favorite characters specifically because I knew him from Reading Rainbow."
Guynes said on the Crowdtilt page that he chose Shands because his wife teaches first grade there and he wanted to do something to help out a school in his community.
"It is my hometown and my wife's hometown," Guynes said. "My wife is a teacher at Shands and I have been able to develop relationships with many of the faculty there. They are doing really good work and I want to help them anyway that I can."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.