Events

Learn How Champions for Youth is Making a BIG Impact on Words Alive

Farmers Insurance is partnering with Words Alive to host some special events that will help us inspire more students and families to become lifelong learners. Each year, Farmers Insurance hosts a Women’s Day and Farmers in the Community Session during the week of San Diego’s PGA TOUR event, the Farmers Insurance Open. During these special events, Farmers Insurance employees will be spending a portion of their time stuffing 1,000 Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits for our Family Literacy Program.

After completing seven weeks of fun and engaging programming, our Family Literacy participants are eager to continue learning and using language as a playtime activity. At the end of the program, graduating families receive a backpack with school supplies, alphabet magnets, glue, crayons, scissors, and more. We encourage families to continue spending valuable time together to ignite quality conversation, which is the foundation for learning at this young age.

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Words Alive will also be hosting a Read Aloud Program field trip for 60 students from Doris Miller Elementary School sponsored by Farmers Insurance in partnership with the PGA Wives. The PGA Wives will be using our Words Alive curriculum to host a small group read aloud session with students ranging from K-5th grade. At this time, they will also host a small book giveaway where students will receive a copy of the book they are reading and get to choose three of their own to take home.

We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Farmers Insurance and The Century Club San Diego to serve more students and families. Words Alive is fundraising until the last day of the Farmers Insurance Open, January 27. We are vying to earn up to $30,000 in bonus funds. Donate today to help us reach our goals.  

Teen Author Talk with Mark Oshiro!

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Mark Oshiro stands onstage at the Neil Morgan Auditorium at the San Diego Central Library. There’s a drop down screen that projects a presentation introducing him to students in the Words Alive Adolescent Book Group program. “I am a queer, Latinx author (of Mexican, Guatemalan, and Salvadoreño descent) and I write books for kids!” As Mark continues to talk to our students about what he was like as a teenager, his career path, and life as an author, he exudes enthusiasm, passion, and sincerity. Although this is undoubtedly a special opportunity for our students, it seems at the same time this is just as special for Mark.

Words Alive's Adolescent Book Group brings books alive for teenagers facing extraordinary circumstances such as homelessness, violence, teen pregnancy and impact by the justice system. Through engaging projects, writing workshops and discussion sessions, Adolescent Book Group participants enhance their critical thinking skills, self-esteem and ability to express themselves. Words Alive's commitment to reading diverse and relevant texts provides an avenue for program participants to connect books to themselves and the world while changing the story of their own lives.

This semester, two of our classrooms, one at Monarch School and one Lindsay Community School, read Mark Oshiro's debut novel, Anger is a Gift. This story follows Moss Jeffries, a sophomore in high school, as he and his classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their school administration. What this means for them is strict policies and procedures (such as installing metal detectors and random locker searches) and harsh punishment (including intimidation and force from the local police department). As readers, we follow as Moss and his classmates organize and push back against the administration. (Source)

Currently, the Adolescent Book Group solely serves Juvenile Court and Community Schools from the border to North County and this year one of the themes the district wanted to focus on was youth activism. Anger is a Gift perfectly tackles themes such as identifying the change you want in your community, organizing, intersectionality, non-violent demonstration, and power structures.

As students started reading the novel in class and discussing the book with Words Alive volunteers, it was obvious how relevant the story and these themes were to the students. A select few students at Lindsay Community School started reading the novel first and soon it was the talk of the school and the rest of the class shortly joined in. At one point in the novel, the students stage a walkout and our students at Monarch School had a rare opportunity to have an honest discussion with their principal about what he would do if they walked out.

Both of these examples serve to demonstrate the magic that happens when students can both relate to a book and experience an enthusiasm for reading. This is what we mean when we say Words Alive brings books alive for our students.

On occasion, we can take this a step further. Students were able to hear first-hand and in-person from one of the authors of a book they read when we hosted a Teen Author Talk at the San Diego Central Library with Mark Oshiro. In the Adolescent Book Group, discussion often turns to the author’s intent (Why did they say this? What did they mean by this? What do you think their personal experience is?) and it was a special experience for our students to hear directly from the source.

Mark Oshiro and students lean over a copy of his book as he signs the book and answers questions.

Mark Oshiro and students lean over a copy of his book as he signs the book and answers questions.

Mark started off the event by giving a presentation catered for school visits. It quickly became clear that Mark’s journey is similar to that of many of our students, as he talked about his own experiences with homelessness, police brutality, and “feeling like a statistic.” He was open and honest when saying that spite is often what motivated him. He wanted to prove to various adults in his life that he could become successful, despite their lack of belief in him.

Then, Mark sat down for a moderated conversation with our Office & Communication Coordinator, Sara Mortensen. In this conversation we learned that Mark’s real life experiences with police brutality inspired the story that became Anger is a Gift. When asked what other emotions besides anger he felt were important in activist movements, Mark took a moment to think and finally decided on: patience. In a surprise turn at the end of the moderated conversation, Mark talked about how a particular episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer greatly impacted him and parts of the story that became Anger is a Gift.

In the Q&A portion, students asked questions such as: Do you think this book could have a sequel? Which character do you relate to the most? What would you be doing if you weren’t writing books? After the event, students continued to ask questions as they got their books signed. Words Alive students entered the event excited to meet the author of a book they loved, and left feeling inspired and empowered.

At Words Alive, our mission is to open opportunities for life success by inspiring a commitment to reading. At this Teen Author Talk with Mark Oshiro, students were able to see an example of how reading can change the story of someone’s life. Mark’s journey was not necessarily conventional. He left home at 16, still graduated with a 4.4 GPA and went to college but never received his degree. And yet, through it all he was an avid reader and writer and has found immense success and accomplishment through those passions. Words Alive was proud to provide this experience to our students and we hope to put on more special events like this one in the future.

You can support our efforts to provide more opportunities like this for our students by donating to our Champions for Youth campaign!



What Words Alive Accomplished in 2018!

By Jennifer Van Pelt

In 2018, Words Alive accomplished many goals and held several events that are cause for celebration! With the help of our 261 active volunteers and 39 collaborative partners, we ultimately donated 14,642 books and served 3,725 students and parents in 2018! Join us in taking a look at 2018 in review...

Image of several people toasting with glasses of Boochcraft kombucha. Source:  Boochcraft

Image of several people toasting with glasses of Boochcraft kombucha. Source: Boochcraft

In April 2018, Words Alive partnered up with Boochcraft to celebrate their new special release flavor. As a San Diego based kombucha brewery, they give back to their community by facilitating projects that support education, food, and energy. All of the gross proceeds from the event were donated to Words Alive, resulting in our ability to serve over 75 families in our Family Literacy Program! Partnerships such as this one have allowed us to reach more families and make a bigger impact than either organization could have done individually.

A picture from 2017’s Share Your Love of Reading campaign! The VIP reader had students get up and dance!

A picture from 2017’s Share Your Love of Reading campaign! The VIP reader had students get up and dance!

Our Share Your Love of Reading Campaign was celebrated once again this May and was our most successful yet! We were able to distribute another 2,778 books to our Read Aloud Program participants due to the success of the campaign. Words Alive partnered up with local news stations, council members, and sports team representatives to make appearances in classrooms to read to elementary school students to help encourage their love for reading.

Image of a person with their back turned towards the camera. They are standing in front of one of the sculptures our students made for this year’s Art & Literacy Project.

Image of a person with their back turned towards the camera. They are standing in front of one of the sculptures our students made for this year’s Art & Literacy Project.

In June 2018, our Adolescent Book Group students participated in an exhibition at the San Diego Art Institute titled The Love You Give. Students created pieces of art and poetry focusing on the theme of “duality” and the novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Local artist Isaias Crow then combined these works of art into communal sculptures. With nearly 100 visitors coming to the exhibition, students were able to showcase their work to their closest friends and family. Students felt proud of themselves for learning and expressing themselves.

We had three Words Alive Westreich Scholarship (WAWS) recipients graduate this year! Zaphire Alonso Duarte, Zaira “Lexi” Martinez, and Domminiece Willis are proud graduates of San Diego City College and Southwestern College who are all continuing their studies at SDSU. When speaking about the program and scholarship, Lexi Martinez said, “My love for reading has been restored since I have been involved with them and I’ve always found a valuable support system within the organization.” We look forward to seeing where their degrees take them and helping more WAWS scholars in the future!

A group picture of The Butterfly Project presenters with Stephen Keiley's 8th grade class at Monarch School and Words Alive ABG volunteers.

A group picture of The Butterfly Project presenters with Stephen Keiley's 8th grade class at Monarch School and Words Alive ABG volunteers.

Words Alive provided the literacy piece of the Holocaust unit for Monarch School’s 8th graders. The students read three books: Night by Elie Wiesel, Maus by Art Spiegelman, and American Ace by Marilyn Nelson — then discussed the books and wrote about the themes with their volunteer team in bi-weekly sessions. As a culminating project, Words Alive partnered with The Butterfly Project, a local Holocaust education initiative. Children of Holocaust survivors led an engaging presentation and invited the Monarch students to each paint a butterfly to represent a child who died in the Holocaust as part of a larger global awareness campaign.

An image of the 2018-2019 Words Alive Westreich Scholars!

An image of the 2018-2019 Words Alive Westreich Scholars!

In August, we recognized our 2018-19 WAWS scholarship recipients. Words Alive awarded $37,500 in scholarships for the upcoming academic year. Nine of the scholars are returning to the program after participating in at least one other year and are receiving a $3,500 scholarship, while three first-time scholars are receiving a $2,000 scholarship from the organization’s Julia & Zoey Shenkman Award. Additionally, each scholarship recipient is matched with a mentor. The mentors meet with their student throughout the school year to help provide guidance and, often times, a shoulder to lean on.

An image of our audience at the 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser watching Brittany Jackson, former ABG and WAWS participant, give her speech.

An image of our audience at the 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser watching Brittany Jackson, former ABG and WAWS participant, give her speech.

Our largest event of the year was the 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser. The marketplace, silent auction, and raffle gave patrons the opportunity to win spectacular prizes while also directly benefiting the three primary programs of Words Alive: Read Aloud Program, Teen Services Program, and our Family Literacy Program. The funds generated at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

Author Mark Oshiro poses with one of our classes from Monarch School after giving a talk about his book, Anger is a Gift.

Author Mark Oshiro poses with one of our classes from Monarch School after giving a talk about his book, Anger is a Gift.

Most recently, we had author Mark Oshiro speak with students from Monarch School and Lindsay Community School. He focused on his life and his book, Anger is a Gift, which tells the story of resilience and loss. The students in attendance read the book over the past semester and were able to discuss the book and the themes surrounding it. Our programs focus on new, diverse, and relevant texts such as this one so that students can see themselves and their experiences represented.

2018 has been one of our best years yet and we are excited to continue inspiring a commitment to reading with the help of you, our community supporters. If you would like to get more information on upcoming events and programs, visit our page here. If you would like to donate or become a fundraiser to help us continue providing these programs, check out our Champions for Youth campaign that is running through January 27, 2019!

Meet the Authors for the 2018 Author Roulette!

By Jennifer Van Pelt

Our Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser on October 19th is quickly approaching, as are the chances to win awesome prizes at the event! One of the most popular activities we host is our Author Roulette, which allows guests who have donated over a certain amount to spin a wheel for the chance to win an author appearance at your book club. This is an amazing opportunity to not only support our work in the community, but also for the chance to have an intimate one-on-one book club event featuring the author of the book you’ve just read!

How many times do you wish you could directly ask an author questions about their book? Now you have that chance! All of the proceeds from this event go directly towards our programs, allowing us to bring trained volunteers into local classrooms to instill literacy skills and a love of reading upon students, as well as helping to build home libraries for families.

Elizabeth Cobbs is a four-time literary award-winning author. Her most recent book, The Hamilton Affair, tells the true story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler and has been named the "Hamilton novel that immediately leaps to the top of the list" by author Joseph J. Ellis. Her first movie, American Umpire, takes a critical look at the role the United States plays in global geopolitics as a sort of 'world police.' She also serves on multiple historical committees, including for the U.S. State Department. To learn more, see Cobbs' website here.

Eric Peterson is a California native whose debut book, Life as a Sandwich, was a finalist in the San Diego Book Awards. His most recent book, The Dining Car, won the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Popular Fiction as well as the 2017 San Diego Book Award for Best Published Contemporary Fiction. The story follows a former college football star's journey as he bartends on a private train car for a popular writer and social critic. You can find more about Peterson’s books here.

Karna Bodman is the author of five novels, the most recent being a political thriller Trust But Verify. The book follows a member of the White House staff and an FBI agent who race to get ahead of a plot that threatens international leaders and stock markets worldwide. Bodman pulls inspiration for her political thrillers from her time serving in the White House, where she was the highest-ranking woman on the White House staff. See more on Bodman’s website here.

Kathy Cooperman performed improv comedy for four years before she attended Yale Law School. After graduating and spending years defending white collar crime, she published her first book Crimes Against a Book Club in 2017. The novel follows two best friends who are strapped for cash and decide to sell face cream to wealthy participants in their local book club -- with the addition of an illegal ingredient that can put their entire business into danger. You can learn more about her books on Goodreads.

Marivi Soliven is a creative writing teacher and the author of 17 books. Her most recent novel, the Mango Bride, tells the story of two Filipino women who immigrated to America, and how their very different lives intertwine, changing them forever. The book won the Grand Prize at the 2011 Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature, widely seen as the Pulitzer Prize equivalent of the Philippines. The response to this novel has inspired her to bring more awareness and advocacy towards immigrant survivors of domestic violence. For more info, see Soliven's website here.

Mike Sager is an award-winning reporter and author of ten books. The second edition of his book, Revenge of the Donut Boys, is a collection of seventeen true stories that touch on the varying aspects of American life, focusing on the values, virtues, obsessions, and hypocrisies of society. Sager has served as a staff writer on the Washington Post, a contributing editor to the Rolling Stone, and a writer at large for Esquire. Currently, he is the editor and publisher of The Sager Group LLC. See Sager's website here.

Tammy Greenwood’s novels have sold over 250,000 copies. Her most recent 2018 novel, Rust and Stardust, follows the story of an 11 year-old girl and her captor as they travel from New Jersey to California. The novel is based on the experiences of a real-life kidnapping victim from the 1940’s. Greenwood has won three San Diego Book Awards and is a creative writing teacher. If you’d like to learn more about her novels, you can visit her website here.

Jennifer Coburn is a USA Today bestselling author of six novels and contributor to five literary anthologies. Over the past two decades, Coburn has received numerous awards from the Press Club and Society for Professional Journalists for articles that appeared in the Washington Post, Mothering, Big Apple Baby, The Miami Herald, The San Diego Union-Tribune and dozens of national and regional publications. She has also written for Salon.com, Creators News Syndicate and The Huffington Post.

Lannette Cornell Bloom is a registered nurse, healer, and author. She is passionate about bringing simple joys to others. As an RN and health practitioner of more than thirty years, she has seen firsthand the need to care for others both emotionally and physically. She brings into focus the fragility of life and the importance of enjoying the simple joys that slip through our fingers if we’re not paying attention—because life may be hard, but joy is simple.

Michelle Gable, in her New York Times bestselling debut, A Paris Apartment, fictionalized the true story of a French courtesan and the discovery of her sealed-for-seventy-years Parisian apartment sparking wonder in readers the world over. Gable’s second novel, I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS, which she wrote by hand in between her daughters’ softball games and a day job as VP of Investor Relations for Ellie Mae, finds her in the City of Light yet again. Michelle graduated from The College of William & Mary. After a twenty-year career in finance, she now writes full time. Michelle lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with her husband, two daughters, and one lazy cat.

Susan Carol McCarthy is the award-winning author of three novels inspired by true events in Florida history -- LAY THAT TRUMPET IN OUR HANDS, TRUE FIRES, and A PLACE WE KNEW WELL -- as well as the non-fiction BOOMERS 101: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION. Her work has been widely selected by libraries and universities for their One Book, One Community and Freshman Year Read programs, and adopted by schools in 29 states and 6 countries. “McCarthy blends fact, memory, imagination, and truth with admirable grace.” ~ The Washington Post. A native Floridian, she lives and writes in Carlsbad, California.


If you’re interested in learning more about our Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser and getting the chance to participate in the Author Roulette game in addition to other activities, visit our site here.

Sponsor Highlight: Partners in Thought

An image of the Partners in Thought logo, featuring the tagline "Science-Based Coaching for High Achievers."

An image of the Partners in Thought logo, featuring the tagline "Science-Based Coaching for High Achievers."

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons including book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year with high-quality literacy programs.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a prosperous community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

Partners in Thought provides science-based coaching for high-achievers through self-discovery, change, achievement, and providing confidential advisor services. Offering a variety of objectives including peak performance, organizational development, time management, or happiness, they provide tools backed by science to leverage people’s efforts into continued and sustainable growth. The company not only assists CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and professionals, they also include educators and non-profits in order to multiply those results by helping those who help others. The organization also donates an amount equal to 20% of all their profits to non-profit programs that help those without homes or with mental illnesses. Words Alive is excited to work with Partners in Thought as a first-time sponsor for the 2018 Annual Author’s Luncheon.

Thank you Partners in Thought for supporting Words Alive with the 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser! Promoting sponsors for this event not only receive recognition on press releases and printed collateral, but they help Words Alive continue to serve thousands of students and families in San Diego with high-quality literacy programs.

We still have many sponsorship opportunities available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Sponsor Highlight: Rancho Valencia

An image of the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa logo.

An image of the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa logo.

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons including book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year with high-quality literacy programs.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a prosperous community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa is a luxury hotel in San Diego and is the Marketplace Sponsor for our 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser! Marketplace Sponsors not only receive recognition at the event on all raffle or silent auction materials, but have the unique opportunity to announce raffle winners.

The award-winning Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa opened in 1989 and has an impressive reputation as one of the West’s most sought-after five star resorts. This Mediterranean-inspired all-suite property is tucked away in 45 acres of lush gardens and olive groves near Del Mar, California. It features guest casitas with private patios, two restaurants and a bar, a meeting space, The Spa with rejuvenating treatments, a fitness center with well-oriented programs, and a champion tennis program. Rancho Valencia has been selected by Forbes Travel Guide as one of the finest five-star hotel and spas in the world and has won the AAA Five Diamond award, both for five consecutive years. Additionally, this paradise has ranked as the #1 resort in the country by U.S. News & World Report in 2015 and was listed on Condé Nast Traveler's 2016 Reader's Choice Awards List.

Thank you Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa for your help with this event and for recognizing the importance of literacy! With your support, Words Alive is able to provide high-quality literacy programming for students and families in San Diego communities.

Interested in availability for our sponsorship opportunities? If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Sponsor Highlight: Our Community Supporters!

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Taking place each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons that include book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a successful and thriving community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

We are so thankful to our Community Supporters for donating to make this event successful. The money raised at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser helps keep our programs running throughout the year, and through our programs we are able to deliver 3,714 literacy program sessions to students and families throughout San Diego.

Hear more about our Community Supporters:

Christopher Weil & Company

An image of the Christopher Weil & Co. logo, featuring the tagline: "Investors - Managers - Advisors."

An image of the Christopher Weil & Co. logo, featuring the tagline: "Investors - Managers - Advisors."

Christopher Weil & Company, Inc. (CWC) is an investment service company that has focused on treating their clients like family for nearly 30 years. As part of their company principles and emphasis on client experience, they co-invest alongside their clients in all investments that they recommend. CWC partners with several causes to promote communities that flourish and develop. Christopher Weil & Company, Inc. is proud to partner with Words Alive as a Community Supporter and a return sponsor.  Words Alive’s mission is to open opportunities for life success by inspiring a commitment to reading, and they continue to make strides to help children and families become more literate and experience the joy and power of reading. CWC believes communities are made stronger and healthier when businesses collaborate with and support their local non-profit organizations, and they are pleased to be a Words Alive sponsor for this year’s Author’s Luncheon.

Filice Insurance

An image of the Filice logo, featuring the tagline: "benefits consulting."

An image of the Filice logo, featuring the tagline: "benefits consulting."

Filice Insurance is a privately owned full service accounting firm that has been providing insurance solutions for nearly 30 years. Filice Insurance knows that companies of varying sizes and industries require different services in order to continue to grow, a service they are quick to provide. As one of the largest independent employee benefits and insurance consulting firms in California, they emphasize involvement in major insurance and human resource organizations in order to fully understand the environment of which their clients operate in. This involvement also extends to their time within the communities they operate in through volunteerism and direct financial support. As a first time sponsor of Words Alive, we are proud to include them in the event and look forward to working with them more in the future.

Pacific Coast Grill & Belly Up Tavern

An image of the Pacific Coast Grill logo.

An image of the Pacific Coast Grill logo.

We are delighted to have Pacific Coast Grill and Belly Up Tavern as a returning sponsor for the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser. As an oceanfront restaurant in Southern California, Pacific Coast Grill is a destination for seafood and sunsets in Cardiff, California. Since 1995, the restaurant has used fresh, local, and free range ingredients to provide quality dishes. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Pacific Coast Grill offers a private reef room for parties as well, with the perfect view to watch surfers and waves.

An image of the Belly Up logo, with the added line indicating they were established in 1974!

An image of the Belly Up logo, with the added line indicating they were established in 1974!

Belly Up Tavern is also a returning sponsor for our Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser. A famous venue in Solana Beach, California, they feature artists of all genres including alternative rock, indie rock, rock, reggae, hip-hop, jazz, blues, latin, and more. They have had stars such as the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and the Foo Fighters play at their venue as well as several local bands. With an event nearly every night, the Belly Up Tavern is a staple Southern California locale.

Edward Jones

An image of the Edward Jones logo.

An image of the Edward Jones logo.

Edward Jones is a company with 16,000 employees focused on giving investing advice and guidance that is tailored to the individual client. The values and culture they have built within the company has earned them a number of awards for the experience they deliver to their clients as well as the experience of their employees. Edward Jones recognizes the importance of commitment to the community. With a long list of causes they support as a company, they also know that it’s important for the employees to get involved, with many serving on local boards, as Chamber of Commerce presidents, and professional organization members in addition to the companywide food, toy, and blanket drives. We welcome Edward Jones into sponsoring Words Alive at the 2018 Author’s Luncheon.

We have many sponsorship opportunities still available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Sponsor Highlight: Moss Adams

Moss Adams.PNG

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Taking place each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons that include book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a successful and thriving community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

Moss Adams is one of the largest public accounting firms in the U.S., a spot they have earned through 105 years of offering accounting, consulting, and wealth management services. The company has earned several firmwide awards including three for being an exceptional workplace for women. Forbes also named them as one of the best midsize employers in 2017, as a company that makes their employees feel happy, inspired and well-compensated. Lastly, they have won six diversity awards in the last seven years.

Moss Adams also ensures they are making a difference in the world today. They do this by having commitment to their people, investing in their communities, and minimizing their environmental impact. The company and its employees volunteer in the community, serve on boards and make charitable donations to help build up the communities around them. Moss Adams has an extensive understanding of the issues foundations, their donors, and their for-profit entities often grapple with as well as the opportunities available to solve those issues. San Diego is just one of the several communities they have supported. Moss Adams will receive recognition on all wine bottles and champagne available in the Marketplace at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser.

As the Beverage Sponsor, Moss Adams is helping Words Alive provide high-quality literacy programs to thousands of students and families in San Diego during the next school year.

We have many sponsorship opportunities still available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Sponsor Highlight: Gurtin Municipal Bond Management

By Jennifer Van Pelt

An image of the Gurtin Municipal Bond Management logo.

An image of the Gurtin Municipal Bond Management logo.

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Taking place each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons that include book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a successful and thriving community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

An image of two people shaking hands in the Gurtin Munucipal Bond Management offices.

An image of two people shaking hands in the Gurtin Munucipal Bond Management offices.

Gurtin Municipal Bond Management is an investment management firm committed to making their investors and their advisors feel more comfortable with their investments and financial future. The firm focuses on diversity and employing the best people, in part by including recruitment in schools from underserved areas. Being a company that places such emphasis on diversity, we are proud to have them as a sponsor in helping us provide literacy education to prepare students for higher education and career placements.

As a return sponsor for Words Alive, Gurtin Municipal Bond Management’s philanthropic funds go towards improving San Diego communities through causes such as education, culture development, and youth development. The San Diego based company believes, “teach a child to read, educate them for a lifetime”.

Gurtin Municipal Bond Management recognizes Words Alive in their efforts to promote literacy and a joy of reading. Gurtin is excited to partner with Words Alive to provide students from K through 12+ with this essential skill set for their future. As an Impact Sponsor, Gurtin not only has the opportunity to introduce the moderator or MC at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser and be recognized on our Words Alive bookmarks, but they are also contributing to Words Alive’s commitment to provide high-quality literacy programs to thousands of students and families in San Diego.

We have many sponsorship opportunities still available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Fund a Mind, Transform a Life

By Jennifer Van Pelt & Sara Mortensen

The 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser is coming up on October 19th and this year our signature fundraising event theme is: Fund a Mind, Transform a Life. This event is important to our organization in many ways, but the most important is this: the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser provides a significant amount of our income and allows us to continue to deliver high-quality literacy programs all over San Diego. When you buy a ticket to the event, donate towards a silent auction item, or contribute in the ballroom on the day-of, you are helping us fund the minds and transform the lives of the students and families we serve.

Every dollar you donate at the Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser helps to fund the minds and transform the lives of the students and families we serve.

Every dollar you donate at the Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser helps to fund the minds and transform the lives of the students and families we serve.

Fund a Mind

Literacy is a foundational skill that is so easily taken for granted by many, yet nearly 450,000 San Diego County residents are considered illiterate. Literacy is a skill that is shown to not only have a relationship to someone’s socioeconomic status and earning capabilities, but can also transform one’s life by allowing them a well-rounded and fulfilling education that enables them to effectively communicate and participate in the communities around them.

According to the EARLY WARNING! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, up until the third grade, most children are learning to read. Beginning in the fourth grade, however, they are reading to learn, using their skills to gain more information in subjects such as math and science, to solve problems, to think critically about what they are learning, and to act upon and share that knowledge in the world around them. This turning point at the end of the third grade is why growing amounts of resources are being directed towards children in Kindergarten through third grade.

An image of one of our Read Aloud Program volunteers reading to a classroom at Golden Hill School.

An image of one of our Read Aloud Program volunteers reading to a classroom at Golden Hill School.

In fact, research like this is the reason why we have strategically designed our Read Aloud Program to target this age range. Reading aloud to young children is the most important thing we can do to help them become motivated, strong readers and in the Words Alive Read Aloud Program trained volunteers read aloud each week to approximately 4,300 children from early childhood education and Title 1 - eligible elementary school sites across San Diego.

Additionally, research from Yale University has indicated that three-quarters of students who are “poor readers” in third grade will remain “poor readers” in high school. Not surprisingly, students with relatively low literacy achievement tend to have more behavioral and social problems in subsequent grades. By focusing on providing additional literacy resources during these key years, it is helping to ensure that these children have the tools to succeed in following years.

Transform a Life

Effective literacy education needs to reach more than just the students that are between Kindergarten and third grade, however. An article published on WCNC states that reading to your child, even in the womb, can activate brain development, increase vocabulary by 24 months, and decrease risk of speech delay. Though this is a known fact amongst experts and doctors, not all parents are aware of the importance this holds on their child’s future success. Educating families as a whole on when to read to their children and what techniques they can use is equally important. Literacy skills can start building from an early age and are building blocks for reading proficiency by the end of third grade.

An image of one of the kids in our Family Literacy Program standing in front of a huge cutout of the Hungry caterpillar!

An image of one of the kids in our Family Literacy Program standing in front of a huge cutout of the Hungry caterpillar!

Words Alive’s Family Literacy Program aims to empower parents as agents of change and advocates for their families by meeting parents where they are and giving them the "ah-ha!" moments that lead to deeper engagement with their children. Parents in the program attend seven workshops, receiving approximately ten hours of parent education covering early literacy development topics specific to preschool age children. Each workshop includes a tailored information session and skill-building exercises for parents, a group story time, and guided activities for parents and children.

As we know here at Words Alive, literacy goes beyond the simple act of reading words off a page and interpreting their meaning. Dr. Berninger, Professor Emerita of Educational Psychology at the University of Washington mentioned in a New York Times article, “Literacy involves all aspects of language, including our oral language, what we hear and say, and our written language, what we read and write.” She called it “language by ear, mouth, eye and hand.” As children grow and  develop, they cannot be denied the resources that allow them to learn these skills.

All of our programs at Words Alive aim to , ensure that children are able to build the skills that can transform their lives and help them become well-rounded individuals with the power to change their communities for the better.

Simply put: Words Alive uses all donations to fund the minds of children, which helps them transform their lives. Join us for our Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser, where you can enjoy a wonderful afternoon while knowing that your actions are making a difference in the state of literacy education in your community.

Click here for more information, and to purchase tickets or a table for the 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser.

Sources:

www.aecf.org

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/well/family/literacy-builds-life-skills-as-well-as-language-skills.html

https://hechingerreport.org/how-to-help-struggling-young-readers/

https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/why-you-should-read-read-read-to-young-children/275-573777471