“Reading has long been a fundamental love and part of both of our lives for as long as we can remember. We were fortunate to have been exposed to reading and supported to read as much as we could at an early age.
It is how, as the poet Jack Prelutsky put it, "we met a dragon face to face, took a trip to outer space, braved a pirate’s den, wrestled a troll, followed the rabbit down a hole, opened magic doors, travelled through time, and searched for dinosaurs, among other things, all by the time we were ten."
Reading opens and expands our minds into things we can then dream of; or turn our thoughts into reality. Written words have enchanted and defined us for thousands of years, given us authors about whom we still read and talk about centuries later or yesterday. They have defined cultures and civilizations.
It is our hope that by supporting reading programs for our children that they, too, will find the magic and wonderment of written words which open the doors of a lifetime of knowledge and entertainment. In doing so, we hope they will learn that no matter how many books have been written over time, there are more crafted every day. Perhaps by being exposed to reading early in their life, they may be the ones to write more of them.
As for the performing arts, and we normally associate theatre, dance and music with these, what more defines a culture than these? They are an extension, indeed the very essence of the human imagination and existence. The performing arts allow us to travel through time and space and immerse ourselves in other lives, cultures, and experiences expressed not the written or recorded report, but by our thoughts, passions, and emotions. We were fortunate to share a love for these things for many years and is how we met and came to be together.
If you have ever participated in the creation or presentation of the performing arts, or as a bystander enjoying the presentations of these arts, then you will understand what an impact they have on our lives. It is our hope that by exposing young people to these forms of expression they may find that they can become more than the sum of their total and express themselves in different manners and venues that transcend mere words, to grow beyond themselves and reach a higher plain. When they do, the world will be richer for it.” - Mark & Teresa Neil
Anyone interested in donating to this fund may mail contributions with “Neil Family Fund” in the memo to BAF, 129 Main St. Suite 301, Beckley, WV 25801 or donate online by clicking the button below. If you are interested in starting a donor designated fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.