| Do Good, Feel Good |
Helping Dolly Fight Illiteracy
By Eric Butterman
Photo by Curtis Hilbun / AFF-USA.COM
“We know if children don’t read at their grade level by third grade they likely will never read at their grade level later,” says David Dotson ’76 (CLAS). “This is a world where reading and writing is fundamental, and it will likely stop you from making the living you want — and having the life you want.”
As CEO of the Dollywood Foundation, Dotson has helped legend Dolly Parton realize and expand her vision of improving childhood literacy. When he joined the fight in 1999, the organization gave away a book a month to about 2,000 children in one county — today it’s more than 1.7 million children in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. Dotson recalls fondly how Parton asked him then if more might be possible. “I remember her saying to me, ‘Do you think we could even help millions of kids in this way?’ It’s how she said it, that she was really saying, ‘If you see this and you’re willing to work for it, I’m right there with you.’”
We are all in need of a little happiness and a little inspiration lately, so we’ve devoted this issue of the magazine to stories of just a few of the many UConn faculty, staff, students, and alumni who spend their days doing good in the world, making it a better place for all of us.