Women Leaders

Words Alive Welcomes New Hire

Words Alive continues to grow, and as we expand, we are continually building our team. In that vein, we are excited to announce our newest team member, Sara Mortensen. Sara joins the Words Alive family as the Office Coordinator, responsible for front desk operations and supports development, events, communications and programs.

Sara Mortensen

Sara is native to San Diego and graduated from the University of California, San Diego with both a B.S. in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Dance. Previously, Sara worked as a Research Assistant with the Veterans Medical Research Foundation on the QUICK Study, which aimed to quantify how the use of Electronic Health Records in clinical settings affects physician-patient communication. Sara is also a volunteer for The Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works to create positive social change through the power of story. She currently holds the position of Research Team Lead for the Campaigns Department. Sara is very passionate about reading and is excited to be working with the Words Alive Team.

Now, let’s hear from Sara!

Sara, tell us what intrigued you about Words Alive?

I am very passionate about reading and since I have graduated from college, I have been interested in finding a full-time job at a nonprofit organization. So Words Alive seemed like a perfect fit for me! I think that the work that Words Alive does is so important for our community, and I really wanted to be a part of making that happen.

What are you most excited about in your new position?

I am most excited about how much I am going to learn in this position! I'm looking forward to working closely with multiple different departments here and seeing how I can best contribute to the success of Words Alive.

What is your relationship with literacy?

Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have early memories of reading, whether it was first learning to read in preschool, helping my best friend learn to read better in second grade, my mom reading Harry Potter with me every night, or discussing what books I'm currently reading with my friends. Literacy has been so important to my personal development and success, and I think that my love of books shapes a lot of my personality. When someone asks me to describe myself, the first thing I say is usually, "I'm a reader!"

And by the way, what are you reading currently?

I am currently reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and I am also listening to the audiobook of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. This is my third time reading The Name of the Wind; it is one of my all-time favorite books!

Currently, there are no employment opportunities at Words Alive, but we are ALWAYS recruiting for wonderful volunteers to work in the classrooms with both other students and families. Check out how to get involved as a Words Alive volunteer! #makereadingmatter #wordsalive.

79th Assembly District's 2016 Salute to Women Leaders!

79th Assembly District's 2016 Salute to Women Leaders! 

Words Alive is proud to support both staff and volunteer team members who received recognition this past weekend at the 79th Assembly District's 2016 Salute-to-Women Leaders!  The event is a tradition from 1987 in which women who improve the quality of life in our communities are acknowledged. 

Words Alive's own Teen Services Program Manager Theresa Tolentino (left), was the recipient of the Social Service Award. Theresa adeptly manages volunteers and programs that connect 450 teens from Juvenile Court and Community Schools across the county to rich book discussions, writing programs, book ownership (often the first for many of the kids), author events, arts projects, scholarships, mentors and more. Most recently, she collaborated with teaching staff to develop a Share Your Story workshop, encouraging students to find their voice, develop a positive self-image, and hone the communication skills needed for successful writing, resumes, and interviews. Theresa is a champion of Words Alive's mission and embodies the power of service and education. We are proud to see her get recognized for all of her achievements. 

Theresa is joined (right) by Words Alive volunteers Billie Greene, who was recognized in the Community Activism category, and Ethel Daniels.  There were a total of 32 nominations in all.

Congratulations Theresa and Billie for a well-deserved salute to your community service and giving spirits! Thank you for your help in fulfilling our mission, to open opportunity for life success by inspiring a commitment to reading!