May 30, 2014 03:52:53 GMT
Emotional Burton says he's 'overwhelmed' as people have 'come together to support this effort,' helping raise $1 million for 'Reading Rainbow' reboot in less than one day.
LeVar Burton's reaction when learning that the Kickstarter campaign he launched to revive "Reading Rainbow" has reached its goal is captured on camera. In a video posted on YouTube, the actor and his colleagues cheer and give each other hugs after the campaign has raised $1 million.
"Kickstarters, I don't know what to say," Burton, looking emotional, says. "We just crossed the million-dollar threshold, it is our first day. I am overwhelmed. Thank you so much. This is going to enable us to really, really, really do a lot of good," he continues while holding back tears.
"I am so proud that this community has come together to support this effort, and it's a people's thing. It's the five [dollars], it's the 10, it's the 25. It's the $1 pledges. It's unbelievable. Or, actually, it's very believable. Thank you so much. We are literally changing the world, one children's book at a time. God bless."
As of press time, the campaign has raised more than $2.4 million from 56,000 backers with 33 days left.
Burton launched the campaign on Wednesday, May 28, in hope of bringing back children's series "Reading Rainbow" for a new generation. He plans to make a new version of the show available to any children via Internet, and create a specialized classroom version and deliver it for free to schools in need.
"I believe that every child has a right, and a need, to be literate. We have a responsibility to prepare our children ... and right now, the numbers show that we, as a society, are failing in that responsibility," he wrote on the Kickstarter page. "Right now, 1 out of every 4 children in America will grow up illiterate."
"Through 'Reading Rainbow', we've been working to solve these problems for over three decades. Starting in 1983, 'Reading Rainbow' successfully used television to turn generations of kids into lifelong readers... with great results."
Talking to PEOPLE about the next steps for this project after reaching the $1 million goal, Burton said, "I have plenty of ideas for stretch goals. It really involves being able to reach more schools; give the product away to more schools for free. The more money we raise, the more of an effect we can have on the way we are educating our children in this nation, in the classroom - where it really makes a difference."