All posts by Beth Wallace

Katie Comes Back!

Katie Wiseman has been with Everybody Wins! for 10 years—fun fact, she was the first person hired by the then-brand-new director Beth Wallace. Now she’s coming back to her roots as the coordinator of our new program at Hinesburg Community School. Everybody Wins! is the luckiest!

Katie has worked for Everybody Wins! since 2014, originally as a site coordinator at J.J. Flynn Elementary and The Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes in Burlington. Since 2016, Katie has processed all mentor applications as the administrative coordinator. A woman of many skills, Katie also compiles our annual survey results and creates the survey reports for each school. Katie was first introduced to mentoring with the DREAM Program as a student at Champlain College and went on to work for the DREAM Program through AmeriCorps. She is known in Everybody Wins! for her cheerful can-do attitude. Katie lives in South Burlington with her family, where they love to read aloud and visit bookstores and libraries.

A Big Hello to Michelle Keefler!

Everybody Wins! is thrilled to welcome Michelle Keefler as the new site coordinator for Edmunds Elementary School and J.J. Flynn Elementary School in Burlington.

Born and raised in Montréal, Québec, Michelle has lived in Vermont since 2012. She comes to Everybody Wins! Vermont after more than a decade of volunteering in schools from one coast to the other. Her common goal is to support all students in experiencing meaningful connections and unconditional acceptance. A former mentor and South Burlington Mentoring program coordinator, Michelle has a passion for mentoring, writing, and storytelling in all its forms. She is a current graduate student at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English. Michelle lives in South Burlington with her family of four, and loves to do anything outdoors, especially if it involves friends, family, cycling, gardening or birds!

You can email Michelle about Edmunds Elementary here, and about Flynn Elementary here.

Welcome Kelly Bouteiller!

Everybody Wins! Vermont has a new program manager for the west side of the state. Introducing Kelly Bouteiller!

As the former Executive Director of Charlotte Children’s Center, literacy instructional coach at Charlotte Central School, and elementary classroom teacher, Kelly Bouteiller has had the privilege to build community and joy around literacy with both children and adults for many years. Kelly has loved reading since she was a child and has a particular passion for the power of children’s literature. She has also discovered a love of crochet, and can often be found crocheting while listening to an audiobook. Kelly lives in Charlotte with her husband, their two young boys, and cats Jack and Annie—named for the characters in the Magic Tree House Series!

Kelly will support Everybody Wins! coordinators in community schools in Chittenden, Addison, and Rutland counties. We are so happy to have her on board! You can email Kelly here.


July 2023 Flooding at Everybody Wins!

An industrial brick building surrounded by brown flood water.
The Everybody Wins! office on the morning of July 11 2023.
A pile of flood-damaged furniture, equipment, supplies, and materials by the curb.
The staff member who took this photo captioned it “The Everybody Wins! office on the curb.”
An empty office with drywall cut 14 inches from the floor showing the studs and flood debris & silt on the floor.
The office on July 21.

Like all of downtown Montpelier, Everybody Wins! flooded on July 10-11, 2023. The last photo shows the current state of our workspace. Wet drywall has been cut away; the floor is still covered in flood debris; carpet, cubicles, and much of our furniture, equipment, and supplies were damaged and discarded. We did manage to save about 2/3 of our books!

This is the nerve center of Everybody Wins!, the place that makes the magic happen all across the state for children. We will keep going, but right now, we could really use your help. Could you consider a donation to Everybody Wins! to help us continue to recover?

Thank you for your support! Together, we will keep kids reading—no matter what.

Climb to the Top of Vermont and Keep Kids Reading!

Everybody Wins! is full of excitement! We are rebuilding after the pandemic, re-opening the last 5 schools this coming fall, and even expanding to new schools in 2024. We can’t wait to see even more children greeting their mentors joyfully each week, in 23-24 and in years to come.

And what makes it possible? YOU DO! Your commitment to children and your generosity allow us to bring more mentors and more reading days to more children in more communities each year.

On August 27th, Everybody Wins! will join the annual Race to the Top of Vermont hosted by the Catamount Trail Association and sponsored by Northeast Delta Dental. Our team members will hike, run, or bike up the Toll Road on Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. Or they will volunteer for the Race, handing out snacks and water, helping in registration, or even playing tunes for the racers. Whether they hike, volunteer, or play, everyone will raise funds to help Everybody Wins! mentor pairs start the fall off strong.

We’d love to have you come along! It’s the most fun you can have on an August Sunday in Vermont. Promise. To find out more about Everybody Wins! and the 2023 Race to the Top, click here.

Can’t be in Vermont this August? You can still help bring the love of reading to Vermont children. Click here to support Everybody Wins! in the Race to the Top of Vermont.


The August Race to the Top is Back!

No matter what, Everybody Wins! mentors read with children around Vermont. Whether children are at home or in school, whether mentors are remote or in-person, come pandemic, deep mud, or high water, mentors and children read together each week during the school year.

And every August, friends of Everybody Wins! climb Mount Mansfield in the Catamount Trail Association‘s Race to the Top of Vermont to raise funds to keep it all going, no matter what!

We raise money to recruit & screen & support mentors. We raise money to pay staff members. We raise money to buy program materials and books. And we raise money to cover all the expenses of any organization: technology, insurance, telephones.

It takes a team to keep children reading with mentors around the state, no matter what! Won’t you join us? Click here for more information.

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 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!