Last updated: March 27. 2014 7:09AM - 1838 Views

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On Friday and Saturday nights, 16 brave couples will put their best foot forward at the third annual Robeson County Dancing With the Stars with two goals in mind — don’t trip and fall, and raise money for a really, really good cause.

The event, you should know by now, is organized by the Robeson County chapter of the United Way and raises money for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides free books monthly to children who haven’t yet reached their 6th birthday. In two years, an amazing $314,000 has been raised after expenses, money that has provided thousands of books to about 2,400 children. Another 7,600 children in the county are eligible to receive free books and registrations continue, so more money is needed.

We have in this space underlined the importance of promoting literacy, a fight this county has been losing for decades. Being illiterate is like pulling up a chair to the dinner table but being unable to join the conversation. It puts up a road block at so many roads that could be delightfully traveled.

People who cannot read and write effectively find it difficult to get a job and then to keep it. The consequence is that a full third of Robeson County’s residents are on some kind of public assistance. Our prisons are flush with illiterates.

The response this year has again been amazing, but there are a few tickets left for Friday’s show, which is basically a rehearsal for Saturday’s main event. Tickets will not be sold at the door either night, so if you woul like to attend, call the United Way office at 910-739-4249 to check on the availability of tickets and find out how to get them.

We called the participants “brave couples” because they certainly risk a bit of good-natured ribbing. These dancers deserve our gratitude, but more importantly they deserve our support.

Each team has been assigned the task of raising $10,000, a pretty steep hill during the best of economies, which today’s certainly isn’t. If you care about this county and its future, and you can afford to do so, go vote for your favorite couple or couples by visiting www.unitedwayrobeson.org. There you can find the participating couples.

The cost for a single vote is $10 — so cast a couple or a few. The shortest path to a more prosperous Robeson County is making sure our young people learn how to read and write well, and there is no better way to accomplish that than inspiring them to do so with the gift of a book whose pages will reveal a whole new world.

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