By Betty Trummel
This third installment in our series of posts celebrating A to Z Literacy’s 10th Anniversary includes the growth of our organization from 2012 through 2013.
To begin 2012, we hosted our second annual fundraiser “On the Vine: Celebrating Books and Wine,” which was once again held at the Dole Mansion. Money raised from this event along with generous donations from the Dawn Breakers Rotary Club in Crystal Lake, the McHenry Sunrise Rotary Club, and Sage Products enabled A to Z Literacy Movement to:
** ship more than 5,000 books (and other materials) to schools in Zambia including Every Orphan’s Hope, Chishiko Primary School, Chudleigh House School, Shine Zambia Reading Academy, and to a Peace Corps volunteer in Mansa, Zambia
** purchase tables, chairs, and bookshelves for Shine Zambia Reading Academy
** provide funds for one teacher’s salary and six months of school lunch at Shine Zambia Reading Academy
Local schools continued to play a part in our organization, with the National Jr. Honor Society students in Crystal Lake raising money by selling t-shirts and also hosting a walk-a-thon. Schools and local libraries pitched in by donating books for shipment and local initiatives. The Illinois Reading Council also donated books to A to Z Literacy. A local outreach event that impacted McHenry Country families was hosting a free book fair at “The Clinic” held at Immanuel Lutheran Church.
A highlight of the year was having a strong team of educators traveling to Zambia in July to continue our mission. Mal was accompanied by Kalan Gott (a returnee from 2011), Ann Yanchura, Stasia Gruper, and Mariann Zimmerman, all teachers in School District #47 in Crystal Lake.
Steady growth, solid community and school connections, and dedication to getting books into the hands of vulnerable children were all part of 2012 and blended seamlessly into 2013!
Throughout 2013 we continued with existing programs and activities such as our third annual fundraiser at the Dole Mansion; hosting a free book fair for at-risk families at “The Clinic” at Immanuel Lutheran Church; and with both Bernotas and Lundahl Middle Schools in Crystal Lake hosting walk-a-thons which raised over $7,000 for A to Z Literacy Movement.
One big new project was implemented in the summer months: Summer Story Boost volunteers helped to create a small library for the Garden Quarter Program in McHenry. Volunteers not only read with children, but helped host two “Family Literacy Nights” with five free books for each family.
Later in the year Matt’s Tavern hosted their annual “Spoker Run” biking event and all proceeds went to A to Z Literacy.
To end 2013, we began what has become a long tradition with Good Shepherd Hospital as they hosted their “Visit With Santa” and donated books to A to Z Literacy Movement.
Deliverables for the year included funds being sent to Shine Zambia Reading Academy for school lunch costs and another teacher’s yearly salary; three shipments of books sent to Uganda, Ghana, and Zambia; and two boxes of books sent to the Regional Superintendent of Schools office in Tazewell County in Central Illinois, after a tornado hit the area.
Our organization was certainly staying busy and fulfilling our mission.