Dorothy Lee reflects on our 10th Spring Gala—her first as LitWorld's Executive Director.
This time of year is always special for the LitWorld family. All around New York City where we have our home base, the trees blossom and tell us that spring is in full swing and summer is around the corner. School is winding down and our LitClubs are planning LitFests that will celebrate the feats of the past year and look ahead to filling summers with reading and creativity, which means LitCamp for many—hip hip hooray!
It is a time for gratitude, joy, and anticipation.
We were so proud last week to bring together much of our LitWorld community at our Spring Gala for our own celebration. Together we shared stories of our LitKids, our partner communities and supporters, and ourselves. The theme of the evening was “Turning the Page,” which resonated in our hearts as a reflection on what stays the same, what deepens, and what changes when we begin new chapters. Where can we take control of our futures and how can we help others do the same?
I shared a story of when I was ten, helping out in my mom’s nursery school classroom during my school breaks. Reading aloud with those toddlers made me feel like a leader for the first time. I still use those read-aloud-rooted skills every day as LitWorld’s Executive Director.
Our Be the Story Honoree, Dr. Deborah Winston, Emeritus Deputy Executive Director of the Office of Literacy for the Detroit Public Schools Community District, shared a story of learning to lead by teaching her younger brother to read.
Our Founder, Pam Allyn, shared a story of how much her father Bill Krupman’s devotion to work, and his commitment to the power of summer camp, influenced her childhood and shaped both who she has become, and how our LitCamp Champion Honoree, the law firm Jackson Lewis, where Bill was a founding partner, has carried on his legacy in its steadfast support for LitWorld’s work.
Our Lit Opening Speaker, author and educator Torrey Maldonado, shared a story of how his mother gave him what LitWorld gives the kids in our communities, showing him all that learning can and should be. And Peter H. Reynolds's picture book The Word Collector, published by our sponsor Scholastic, echoed our theme throughout the room with its story of Jerome, a young boy learning that words give us strength as we take them in, and give us even more power when we share them.
I asked our guests to reflect in the room:
Who were you when you were a child? Take a moment to think of your LitKid-self. Who made you feel like you truly belonged? What made your confidence shine? When did you feel afraid and what gave you hope?
Too many children do not have access to the resources that will give them the power to own their dreams.
Globally, 250 million children and 774 million adults do not have access to the life-changing, life-saving power of literacy.
LitWorld defies these numbers every day.
Our LitClubs reach over 7,000 children and parents, our LitCamps reach hundreds of thousands of kids across the US, and our World Read Aloud Day campaign reaches millions.
We are so grateful to everyone who has rallied with us this spring, raising funds to keep this important work going. We need you with us to ensure that our LitKids can turn the page onto the bright futures they deserve.