David proudly serves on the Board of Trustees for Porter-Leath, a Memphis-based, educational organization that bridges the gap between birth and Pre-K in high-need areas. As a member of this board, David advocates for exceptional education for young children, preparing them for school and, most importantly, a life of success.
David’s introduction to Porter-Leath began in 2002 when he first got involved as Chairman of the Shelby County Board of Education (SCBE). Through his leadership, David and the SCBE partnered with the Shelby County Sherriff’s Department on a unique initiative. Through this collaboration, they would take old, broken bicycles, which were piled up at Shelby Farms at the time, and restore them to working order. Then would donate these refurbished bikes to Porter-Leath.
Porter-Leath is a Memphis-based, educational organization that bridges the gap between birth and Pre-K. They aim to make an impact through academic success for small children in high-need areas of the city. For over 170 years, Porter-Leath has been the primary resource for Memphis' children and families. By focusing on the essential building blocks of healthy development, the organization not only gives them access to the tools they need, but also a sense of hope. The result is Porter-Leath helps build stronger children, stronger families and a stronger Memphis.
Through the previously mentioned bicycle program, David was introduced to Mike Warr, Chairman of the Early Childhood Foundation. This relationship would span for years, leading David to serve on another impactful, education-based board.
In 2021, Mike invited David to join Porter-Leath’s Board of Trustees, and David happily obliged. Upon David’s acceptance of the role of trustee, he made a visit to the organization’s newest school in North Memphis, and learned about how the center helps children from ages two to five, who are living in the most impoverished communities, gain a pre-kindergarten experience that will better prepare them for success when they start school.
The Power of Literacy at an Early Age
A study found that too many kids show up to kindergarten never having been read to nor introduced to the joy of reading a good book. Additionally, there was a significant chance that kids who couldn’t read would never graduate from high school. Nearly 85% of the kids who end up in juvenile court are functionally low literate and 70% of all incarcerated adults can’t read at a fourth-grade level. In the criminal justice system, administrators often lament how they can predict how many prison beds they were going to need based on the number of kids in third grade who are not reading at grade level.
For many kids, success boils down to teaching them to love reading. It’s about preparing them to learn prior to entering kindergarten. It’s all about early childhood experiences that can encourage and support their success.