The GLR Campaign recognizes Topeka, Kansas, as a 2016 Pacesetter for its strong cross-sector collaboration and efforts in community-wide messaging.
Serving the entire Shawnee County area, the campaign encompasses local school districts, the housing authority, the local library, United Way of Greater Topeka and other businesses, nonprofits and civic organizations. The campaign’s first major event was celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday. A local business donated over 11,000 books for children in Title I schools in six districts throughout the county, and the week of events included 10 school assemblies with guest readers including legislators, school administrators, TV personalities and the county sheriff. During the summer, partners created a reading and activity enrichment guide that was distributed to every summer feeding site in Shawnee County.
For Summer Learning Day, the mayor of the city of Topeka signed a proclamation highlighting the importance of summer reading and a local comic shop hosted an event where partners provided kids with a healthy meal and a day of activities and reading. The campaign held other events throughout the year to help the community reach its initial fundraising goal for the launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. One such event included working with the local mall to raise funds and awareness by holding a book drive and allowing space for celebrities to promote the initiative by reading to children.