Everybody Wins! DC 21st Annual Gala


Photo credit: Everybody Wins! DC

Literacy supporters, educators, mentors, and students gathered at the Capital Hilton last week to celebrate Everybody Wins! DC’s 21st annual gala. The evening kicked off with a silent auction, where guests enjoyed cocktails and indulged in photo ops with Washington Nationals mascots, Abe Lincoln and Screech, and Daniel Tiger from PBS. The BJ Simmons Quartet played smooth jazz as guests placed bids, sampled passed hors d’oeuvres, and chatted with like-minded Washingtonians working to promote literacy in the District.

EW!DC has served more than 60,000 students and distributed over 200,000 books in DC area public schools since its inception. EW!DC tackles illiteracy head-on, operating programs in 39 low-income public elementary schools and serving more than 5,000 children in the Washington Metropolitan Area this year. Through EW!DC’s two programs, Power Lunch and StoryTime, children develop a love for reading as well as confidence and self-esteem in the classroom.

Guests headed into the ballroom to enjoy a seated dinner and full program, which included several inspiring performances by students from participating schools. The Tyler Percussion Ensemble began the program with a lively performance using drums, chimes, and tambourines. Emcee Larry Smith from WJLA’s Good Morning Washington then took to the stage, and introduced the Savoy Players from Savoy Elementary School. The Savoy Players performed a dance to a song from “Lion King,” and the coed group included a young student working the crowd on stilts.

After a spirited live auction hosted by Jeff Lesher, two principals- Carmen Shepherd from Thomson Elementary and Peter Young from Brent Elementary- shared their stories on how EW!DC Reading Mentors have positively impacted the lives of their students. These speeches were a personal and touching reminder about the impact a mentor can have on a child’s life.

Cam, a seventh grader from School Without Walls at Francis Stevens, awarded his own mentor with the 2016 Minnion Friedman Mentor of the Year award. Richard Mintz, this year’s recipient and EW!DC Board member, has read with Cam during his lunchtime for five years. In a touching moment, Mintz described Cam, “I feel like I raised a third child. You’re a member of the family!”

Everybody Wins! DC (EW!DC) is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting children’s literacy and a love of learning through shared reading experiences with caring individuals. The U.S. Senate helped launch the Power Lunch program at Brent Elementary School in Washington, DC on March 7, 1995. During the 2014-2015 school year, EW!DC operated programs in 37 low-income public elementary schools, enriching the lives of more than 5,000 children in underserved communities throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area.

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