LeVar Burton Kickstarts Reading Rainbow and Exceeds $1M Goal within 24 Hours


LeVar Burton is on a mission to educate the next generation and change the world for every child, everywhere through literacy. He launched a campaign last Wednesday on the popular crowd-funding site Kickstarer, with the hopes of raising $1Million dollars to bring back the Reading Rainbow learning experience.

The campaign introduced the newly re-imagined Reading Rainbow digital media platform, which features an unlimited library of acclaimed children’s books and video field trips. Within 24 hours the campaign had surpassed the suggested $1Million dollar goal which was originally set to 35 days of fundraising.

If you aren’t an 80s Baby that grew up in the 90s like myself, then you probably won’t be familiar with LeVar Burton or the Reading Rainbow. But not to worry I’ve got the Street Intell.

LeVar Burton is a well-known actor, director, producer, author and tv host. In the early 80s he was associated with the popular mini-series, Roots as the lead character Kunta Kinte. He was also a character on the beloved science fiction TV-series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. And of course he was the host of one of PBS networks most popular educational broadcasts, Reading Rainbow.

Reading Rainbow is a educational program that aired on the PBS network for much of the 1990s on into the late 2000s. The shows’ premise was centered around fun ways to engage children in reading books. In the show, Burton was in charge of narrating some of the most popular children’s books of the time; as well as taking viewers on  exciting and informative adventure field trips. The field trips were backstage tours of real world proffessions that coincided with the content presented in the featured books.

After the shows cancelation in the late 2000s LeVar and his business partner bought the rights to the Reading Rainbow name and formed their own company; committing themselves to continuing the legacy of the illustrious literacy brand. In an interview with Mediabistro  Burton states how “the [Reading Rainbow] brand has not outlived its usefulness.” As a result of this awareness Burton has used his celebrity in a big way, not only  has he brought back Reading Rainbow in a new app but he’s committed  himself to taking the Reading Rainbow brand into the uncharted territory of new media.

Growing up in an era of reading buddies, book fairs,  and library cards I am please to know that LeVar Burton has picked up the torch and carries on the legacy of empowering children and their families to share in the love of literacy.

Take a trip down memory lane with me and check out this mini flashback of Reading Rainbow and as always don’t forget to leave your comments below:

DC| 04.04.14 Emerging Jazz Singer and HU Student LeNaiya Blackwell Live in Concert at Columbia Station

Naiya Flyer

We shared Le’Naiya Blackwell story just a few short months ago, now she has met her goal and it is concert time! On her behalf we want to thank everyone who read our article and were led to contribute to her success. Grab your tickets and a smile and meet us down at Columbia Station this Friday.


Saving Our Sisters

Women’s History Month is here and it is not only a time to acknowledge and honor the contributions of our sisters, but also to celebrate, support and encourage them. That being said, we have partnered with three amazing organizations, Jaden’s Closet, Inc., Dark is Lovely, Inc., and the Boys & Girls Club of America, to take on a special initiative: Saving Our Sisters.

We have teamed up to support ACTS Turning Points, a Domestic Violence Intervention Program that provides housing, food, clothing, legal and counseling services to women and children affected by domestic violence.

Sadly statistics show that:
§  Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
§  Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined
§  Up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually
§  Every day in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
§  Men, who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives, than sons of nonviolent parents.

Most women affected by domestic violence have no place to go and no one to help. If children are involved, most women will stay in an abusive relationship for fear that they have no way to provide for their children outside of the home.  Street Intell is pleased to be apart of a solution to help families in need and request your help in doing the same.


That sounds great! But how can I help?

Join the campaign! March 10th-28th we will be collecting essential items needed to further advance the efforts of the ACTS Turning Points program.


Week 1: March 10th -14th — “The Essentials”

Week one focuses on providing basic supplies to our sisters arriving at the safe houses.  You can purchase items to create an entire kit or purchase one item to be used in a kit. Every little bit helps.
Health/Toiletries Kits: (All items in kit must be new; all toiletry items must be full size, not travel size)

  • 1 shower caddy
  • 1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
  • 1 brush 1 full size bottle of shampoo & conditioner
  • 1 stick/container of deodorant
  • 1 metal nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
  • 1 bath-sized bar of soap (3  oz. and up)
  • 1 tube of tooth paste
  • 1 toothbrush (single brushes only in original wrapper, no child-size brushes)
  • 6 adhesive plastic strip Band-Aids

Basic Clothing Kits: (All items in Kit must be new) Designed for adults and children, male and female, from sizes small -2XL. Sizing throughout essentials package should be consistent. Colors chosen can be gender specific but neutrals are also encouraged.

  • 3 pairs of underwear
  • 1 bra (if female – adult or teen)
  • 2 T-Shirts 1 pair of sweatpants/lounge pants
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair flip flops
  • 1 set of pajama’s – top and bottom
  • 1 backpack or reusable grocery bag/tote

Baby/Layette Kits: (All items must be new)

  • 1 package of size
  • 1 diapers
  • 1 package of size
  • 2 diapers
  • 2 shirts or 2 one-piece body suits
  • 2 baby washcloths
  • 2 gowns or sleepers
  • 2 diaper pins
  • 1 sweater opens in the front
  • 2 receiving blankets

Week 2: March 17th -21st — “Let’s Eat”

Week two focuses on providing food to our sisters and children currently living in safe houses. Think canned goods, water, cereal, juice, etc. ACTS Turning Points provides all the food for the women and children in the Domestic Violence Intervention Program. Food is a necessity and a TOP priority at the shelter.

Week 3: March 24th – 28th — “Gift Cards Galore”

Week three focuses on supporting the ACTS Turning Points mission by ensuring the program has the funds needed to help the many women and children that come through their doors for assistance. The gift cards allow the program to purchase items such as food, water, clothes, medicine, first aid supplies, supplies for babies and school age children, blankets, pillows, the list goes on. Gift cards in any amount are welcome. Please note gift cards to grocery stores, Walmart, Target, Pharmacy/Drugstores like Walgreen’s, Rite Aid or CVS  are greatly appreciated.

How do I get the items to you?

Please contact Chevonne Thomas at 571.991.9015 or thomaschevonne@gmail.com for drop off/pickup/shipping information.

What if I have additional questions?

Feel  free to reach out to info@streetintell.com or you may contact Dottie Larson, Program Director for ACTS Turning Points Domestic Violence Program.

Dottie Larson Phone: 703.221.4460 (ext.228) Email: dlarson@actspwc.org

We appreciate any assistance you can provide.  Thank you in advance and continue to share the Street Intell.

The Street Intell Team

By Any Means Necessary: Howard University Student Resorts to Crowd-funding her Education

lbLe’Naiya Blackwell is a second semester sophomore originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania trying desperately to return to Howard University. The first of 3 children, and a first generation college student, it was never even a thought that she would one day be pursuing higher education. In a phone conversation she described the conditions afflicting her family and other people around Pittsburgh.

“My Mother has MS and was battling cervical cancer for much of my childhood so when we had money most of it would go towards making sure we had a mom still around. Growing up there were happy times, but I’ve lived everywhere in Pittsburgh… from the Hill District, Hazelwood, Homewood, the Northside, North View Heights, the Burrows… literally everywhere. I grew up in these communities; where only 5% of people living under the poverty line even thought about college, much less planned ahead. When you’re eating ketchup sandwiches, what money do you have to save for college?”
Le'Naiya B.

In 2010, Blackwell began her college career at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. Struggling to find her passion, for two years she studied visual and performing arts. Throughout those years, Blackwell realized she really had an appetite for music and wanted an in-depth understanding of Jazz. She researched different programs and came across Howard University’s Jazz Studies program and decided that was the best option for her.

In the fall of 2012 she auditioned for the program and was accepted. The first year and a half at Howard was “filled with so much bliss” recounted the now Jazz soloist. Blackwell attributes her maturation of musical knowledge of famous Jazz singers and even the development of her confidence as an artist to the program. In her time at Howard, Blackwell has done exceptionally well. She was accepted into the SAASY Jazz ensemble in which she was afforded the opportunity to tour through cities like Chicago and Detroit. As a result, she was even able to meet Reverend Jessie Jackson and Opal Staples, daughter of one of the Staples Sisters.

With help from the Trio scholars program, grants; need-based scholarships and working, Blackwell was doing fine in funding her college career. Unfortunately, even with filling out scholarship/grant applications and daily trips to the financial aid office, taking out loans, and working sometimes two jobs at once, all while being a full-time student, she was not able to come up with enough money to stay in school. Therefore, she has started a campaign to raise the remaining 3,065 dollars. Many people have been attacking her on social media asking “why doesn’t she just quit going to college… Why is she begging for money?” She has even received hurtful comments from ignorant and arrogant people not empathetic to her struggle. However, with an upbeat spirit she is determined to push on towards her dreams of graduating from Howard University, building a career as a Jazz singer and one day owning a children’s art center.

Beyond Bias Youth Poetry Contest & Slam

The Dunbar Senior High School youth showed up and showed out sharing their poetic expressions in relation to social justice and discrimination. Check it out below: