All posts by Beth Wallace

Racing and Reading in August—No Matter What!

Over the past year, Everybody Wins! mentors have read with children no matter what:

This August, friends of children will climb Mount Mansfield in the Catamount Trail Association‘s  Race to the Top of Vermont to keep children reading in the coming year—no matter what.

We’re also launching a new virtual event starting on August 15th, one everyone can take part in no matter where they are: The Race Around Vermont. Our goal is to collectively travel the 307 miles around all 21 Everybody Wins! Vermont sites in the two weeks leading up to the Race to the Top.  from Barton to Burlington to Rutland to Claremont NH and back to Barton.

 

Walking, running, hiking, biking—or even READING—everyone’s miles or pages count towards our total.

The August Races are our biggest fundraiser of the year and help to get children and their mentors off to a strong start in the fall. Join us! Find out more and register here.

 

 

Buff Lindau on Discovering the Joy of Language

A long-time Everybody Wins! mentor at Edmunds Elementary School in Burlington, Buff Lindau is also a poet with a new book out from Onion River Press. Buff joined the Everybody Wins! board of directors in 2017 and since then has helped families find books to read at Read-A-Thons, hawked 50/50 tickets at Lake Monsters games, and written dozens of thank you cards to help us keep children reading with their mentors.

I have been dipping into The House That Holds every day or two since I received my copy a month ago. Each page, each poem tells a new story of daily life, family connection (or disconnection),  the natural world and the built one, through the poet’s eyes. It’s a great book for solace this year when so many things seem out of joint and so many of us feel disconnected and isolated. You can find Buff’s book through Phoenix Books, another local bookstore, or Amazon.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the book one morning to discover a poem about Buff’s joy in mentoring with Everybody Wins! Vermont! With Buff’s permission, that poem “Kudos to Dr. Seuss” is reproduced below.

Theodore Geisel (whose pen name was Dr. Seuss) and his children’s books have come under deserved criticism for blatant racism in some cases and racist tropes and undercurrents in others. This poem and the joyful engagement it records stand side by side with these facts but do not outweigh them. Instead, they point out how complex human beings are, and how connected our worldviews are to the act of creating. Brilliance and bigotry can be—often are—found in the same artist, and in their art.

Culture, books, and our understanding change over time. What this poem celebrates—the power of language and the joy of learning—endures.

Kudos to Dr. Seuss

Our high fives, Kiki’s and mine, hit just right—
hand to hand, solid—the thwack of a smack
echoed her pride. She read by herself today.
that Smack! shaped her day and rejiggered mine.

While there’re Brazil’s mosquitoes
spreading horrors,
and Flint’s lead-carrying water
poisoning young children

First-grader Kiki
read for the whole hour, today,
no distraction into drawing or games.
I got it. I can do it, she said.

The brilliant Dr. Seuss—catchy rhymes,
hard words and easy, Kiki plowed on undaunted,
with focus and heart and wide-eyed interest,
her smiley seven-year-old, snaggle-tooth
beautiful face close to the page.
She was working, sounding out the words,
keeping on keeping on
till we came to the end of our mentoring hour.

Nothing, not all the hugs her friends give her,
or her sparkly sweaters, fluffy skirts or excellent boots,
interests her like the books she read today.
She glowed with excitement.

Her hard work, her spirit,
a gift in the face of Flint and Brazil.
We picked the best books for next week
and high-fived a jolly farewell.

—Buff Lindau, The House That Holds

In Memoriam: Freya Chaffee

On August 28, Everybody Wins! and the town of Waterbury lost a dear friend and a staunch advocate for children and literacy when Freya Chaffee died after a year-long struggle with pancreatic cancer.

Freya was the cheerful, knowledgeable coordinator of Everybody Wins! at Thatcher Brook Primary School in Waterbury from 2016 to 2019. Everybody Wins! was tremendously lucky to have the advantage of Freya’s passion, experience, and skill. Under her guidance, the program in Waterbury expanded by a third, with more than 50 mentors reading each week with children at Thatcher Brook. Freya used her years of connections in Waterbury to bring mentors into the program and match them with children they were happy to see each week. Children adored her. The rest of us at Everybody Wins! looked on with awe as she built the program with confidence and warmth.

One of my favorite memories of Freya is at a fundraiser organized by two Everybody Wins! graduates, Jillian Rundle and Addey Lilley, at Bridgeside Books in Waterbury last spring. The store was packed with middle schoolers and their friends and families, and Everybody Wins! mentors and mentees. A band of 3 middle schoolers was playing. The atmosphere was festive with talk, laughter, book-buying, and music. And in the middle of it all was Freya, talking with everyone who came through the door, making connections—a joyful spark for the whole event.

We all hoped and expected to have many more years of working with Freya as a colleague and friend. We miss her deeply.

You can read more about Freya’s life at the obituary published by her family here.

 

 

In Memoriam: Paul Rosenberg

 

“Paul was one of the best humans I have had the pleasure to know.” —Sue Cook, former Everybody Wins! board member

All of us at Everybody Wins! Vermont are heartbroken by the death of mentor, former Board President, and friend Paul Rosenberg from cancer on July 10th. Our hearts go out to his family, who we know miss him even more than we do.

Paul was a committed mentor who read with three different children at Shelburne Community School in the past five years. Paul was so committed to children that when one of his mentees moved to another community on the other side of Burlington, Paul drove to the new school every week to continue reading with him. Even during this last year of chemotherapy in Boston, Paul continued to read with his mentee whenever he was able.

One of my favorite stories about Paul describes his first meeting with a new mentee. The second grader was so shy that when he was introduced to Paul, he turned away and put his face against the wall. With some persuasion, he walked silently down the hall next to Paul to get his lunch. Paul tried one conversational gambit after another without any response. Finally, he said, “I have a dog named Hops. Do you have a dog?” The child’s head came up, he looked Paul in the eye for the first time, and said all in one breath, “I-have-a-dog-his-name-is-Rocky!” They were off.

Paul changed children’s lives with his commitment, his humor, and above all, his kindness.

Paul also changed Everybody Wins! Vermont. He joined the board in his first year of mentoring. He enthusiastically took part in the annual Race to the Top in order to help the organization achieve financial stability. The coordinator of Everybody Wins! at Edmunds School in Burlington, Wanda Stetson, remembers, “”He was a giant of a man—kind, compassionate, and a devoted supporter of mentoring children.  My daughter and I hiked a stretch of the Toll Road Race to the Top with Paul in 2017.  He was so encouraging and his sense of humor kept us going.”

Paul took on the president’s role with typical verve and intelligence. You could find Paul talking with funders, dishing up ice cream at a parent event, calling board members to check in and offer support, or working his way around the room at a staff meeting.  He tackled organizational challenges with patience, thoughtfulness, and integrity.

Paul was famous for bringing his dog Hops to our Montpelier office for meetings. We’ll never forget the day that Hops followed one of the Consolidated technicians out of the building while Paul was engaged in discussion. The meeting broke up abruptly as we all searched the building and then ran outside calling for Hops. After a few frantic minutes, Hops was discovered  peacefully sniffing around the Lighthouse Christian Church down the block.

Paul showed up for children and for the organization with enthusiasm and determination, and we are stronger because of his thoughtful stewardship. Former board member Joe Doud spoke for us all when he said, “Paul had an infectious attitude, and anything he was part of was instantly made better because of his presence in the room.”

We were lucky to have Paul on our side, and he is deeply missed.

All the Books That You Can Handle

4th Annual Consolidated Communications
South Burlington Read-A-Thon!
Sunday, February 23, 1  to 3:30 pm
South Burlington Public Library
University Mall, Dorset Street

 

Piles of books to read. Passports to stamp & gold coins to collect. Fabulous prizes! Cookies to enjoy with a glass of milk. The sweet tunes of Jon Gailmor, and a free book for every child. What else could you do on the Sunday of school vacation that has so much fun wrapped up in it?

 

Don’t miss the 4th Annual Consolidated Communications South Burlington Read-A-Thon! This beloved FREE family event is sponsored by Consolidated Communications and hosted by the South Burlington Public Library. Come as you are; no sign-up is necessary. Plan to be there for the whole event so you can pile up gold coins and chances for a prize! Every child chooses a free book to take home.

1-2:30 pm: Read as many books as you can, collect passport stamps & gold coins!

2:15: Snack

2:30: Jon Gailmor sings

3:00: Prizes!

3:15 Choose a free book to take home

Questions? Call 846-4140, or email info@everybodywinsvermont.org. We can’t wait to see you at the Read-A-Thon!

It takes a community to make the Read-A-Thon happen. Thanks to our sponsors, Consolidated Communications. Thanks to the South Burlington Public Library, for all the books and the beautiful cozy space to read in. Thanks to Jon Gailmor for the songs we love to sing along with. And thanks to you, for making it a party!

 

 

All the Reading You Can Handle

15th Annual National Life Read-A-Thon
Saturday January 25, 1-3:30 pm
National Life cafeteria, Montpelier

Piles of books to read. Passports to stamp & gold coins to collect. Fabulous prizes from Bear Pond Books. Cookies from the Post Office Cafe to enjoy with a glass of milk. The sweet tunes of Jon Gailmor, and a free book for every child. What else could you do on a Saturday that has so much fun wrapped up in it?

 

 

Don’t miss the 15th Annual National Life Read-A-Thon! This beloved FREE family event is sponsored by National Life Group and held in their spacious, beautiful cafeteria. Come as you are; no sign-up is necessary. Read all the books you can and enter to win prizes! Every child chooses a free book to take home.

Questions? Call 229-2665, or email info@everybodywinsvermont.org. We can’t wait to see you at the Read-a-Thon!

It takes a community to make the Read-a-Thon happen. Thanks to our sponsors, National Life Group Foundation—this event would not exist without them. Thanks to our partners, Bear Pond Books and Post Office Cafe, for making everything sweeter and more fun. Thanks to Jon Gailmor for the songs we love to sing along with. And thanks to you, for making it a party!

 

 

Round Up in September at Hunger Mountain Co-op

Round Up for Children at Hunger Mountain Co-op in September Everybody Wins! Vermont is honored to be Hunger Mountain Co-op’s community partner in September. Visit our table in the co-op in the last two weeks of the month. Sign up for a workshop about children’s books and justice on Tuesday October 1 from 6 to 7:30 pm at the co-op. And don’t forget to round up your grocery purchase at the co-op this month to support children and reading in 5 communities (Barre, Montpelier, Northfield, Waitsfield, and Waterbury) in central Vermont.

Racing to the Top of Vermont for Children

Mentor and child in St. Johnsbury, 2019

“She’s kind. We get to read lots of books and talk about them. I get to talk with someone and spend time with them during the day.” —Waterbury child, 2019

“He learns a lot of different things he didn’t know before. He reads a lot better and slower. He is very positive about his future.” —Barre parent, 2019

These quotes from our annual survey in May 2019 says it all: children love having Everybody Wins! reading mentors, and parents and teachers see what a difference that one hour a week makes in the life of a child.

Everybody Wins! Vermont is entering our 20th year.  In 2018-19, over 600 children read each week with Everybody Wins! mentors.

As we have every August for 12 years, a team of supporters is preparing to climb  Vermont’s highest mountain, Mt. Mansfield, on August 25th.

Everybody Wins! supporters Laura, Amy, and Beth at the start of the Race in 2018

We take part in the Catamount Trail Association’s Race to the Top of Vermont in order to  keep children around Vermont reading with mentors every year. The Toll Road winds for 4.3 miles up the mountain, gaining 2564 feet of altitude in the process. It’s not an easy hike—but as the Race’s sponsor CTA says, “Isn’t that the point?”

The money we raise in the Race to the Top helps us start off strong each year. Last year, we added two new sites. This year, we are creating infrastructure and systems so we can expand again in 2020, and keep finding mentors for children for another 20 years.

It’s a great feeling to get to the Mt. Mansfield summit on a summer’s day. It’s even better knowing that you’ve helped make things better for kids and supported communities around the state. Won’t you help us keep them reading?

Click here to support the Everybody Wins! team in the Race to the Top 2019.

Next year, sign up, and come along for the hike!

Todd and Paul at the top of the mountain, 2017.

South Burlington, how many books can you read?

Everyone will find something new and fun to read aloud at the 3rd Annual So Burlington Community Read-A-Thon on Sunday April 28th from 1 to 3:30 pm! This  FREE family event is sponsored by Consolidated Communications Inc.

 

 

Will it snow? We don’t know! But we do know that there will be lots of books for everyone at the Read-A-Thon. Join us at the South Burlington Public Library in the University Mall on Dorset Street.

Read aloud as many books as you can, fill your passport with stamps, collect gold coins for a chance at fabulous prizes, and devour cookies and milk while you sing along with Jon Gailmor. Come as you are—no need to RSVP. Children of all ages are welcome with an adult.

Thanks to our supporting partners Consolidated Communications Inc for making this FREE family event possible!

Read Books and Win Prizes: Read-A-Thon 2019

Everyone will find something new and fun to read aloud at the 14th Annual National Life Read-A-Thon on Saturday January 26th from 1 to 3:30 pm!

Will it snow? We don’t know! But we do know that there will be lots of books for everyone at the Read-A-Thon. Join us at the National Life cafeteria, 1 National Life Drive in Montpelier.

Read aloud as many books as you can, fill your passport with stamps, collect gold coins for a chance at fabulous prizes from Bear Pond Books, and devour Post Office Cafe cookies and milk while you sing along with Jon Gailmor.

Every child picks a free, brand-new book to take home!

Children of all ages are welcome with an adult! Come as you are on the spur of the moment; no sign-up is necessary.

The Read-A-Thon is a free community event generously supported by National Life Group.

Questions? Email info@everybodywinsvermont.org or call 802-229-2665.