A to Z’s AmaZing Race

Get your traveling team together and please join us for our inaugural road rally and FUNdraiser.

What to Expect:

The road rally will start at Hickory Hall where you will be given your first clue. From there, you and your team (2-8 people) will travel to a different location in Crystal Lake to receive your next clue to figure out.

The quicker you can solve clues and travel to specific locations – the better chances you will have to win prizes! There will also be a few fun activities/roadblocks for your team to complete at some stops along the way.

What You Need:

Bring your sense of humor and love of Crystal Lake to finish the race and win fun prizes!

You can purchase tickets on our website for $50 per person or score a deal with $175 for a 4-pack. We will add your name to the list of road rally racers! 

You do not want to miss A to Z’s AmaZing Race!

This year we are trying something new for our annual FUNdraiser and hope you will join us on Saturday, August 27th from 6:30-10:00 PM for A to Z’s AmaZing Race road rally. Yep, this fundraiser is going to be one to remember with lots of laughs while benefitting a great cause!

The road rally will kick off at Hickory Hall where you will be given your first clue. From there, you and your team (2-8 people) will travel to a different location in Crystal Lake to receive your next clue to figure out and then travel on to another location in the race. The quicker you can solve clues and travel to specific locations – the better chances you will have to win prizes! There will also be a few fun activities/roadblocks for your team to complete at some stops along the way. Head to our website for tickets and ask a friend (or two) to join your team. We will add your name to the list of road rally racers.

Special Thanks: A to Z Literacy Movement is funded by individual donors like you and we are grateful for your continued support as we celebrate 13 years of promoting the love of reading by getting books into the hands of children.

Save the Date for A to Z’s AmaZing Race

Get your traveling team together and join us for our inaugural road rally and fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 27th from 6:30 – 10:00. Yes, we decided to switch things up a bit after a two-year COVID delay and create a fun race around Crystal Lake paying homage to our city and some iconic locations. 

We invite you to start your engines and embark on a road rally with clues to solve, trivia to figure out, and roadblocks to get around. The AmaZing Race will be held at Hickory Hall where racers will be given their first clue to begin their adventure. Teams can range in size from two to six people and tickets will go on sale on August 1st via our website.

As always, all money donated will directly help us to forward our mission and meet our goals to strengthen and improve the literacy lives of students locally and globally.

Helping Hands

As the season of giving and thankfulness drifts in this autumn, our non-profit team members reflect on all of the help we have received from people near and far. Truth be told, “It takes many hands to make light work.” And there have been many offering a helping hand.

We have had book donations and drives from clubs, schools and families wanting to assist in getting reading materials to children. We’ve received monetary donations which help to provide college classes for Jonathan Mwale, our sponsored student, and shipping of books overseas. We have people volunteering to help distribute books, donate books they have finished enjoying, host walkathons and CrAtoZy Sock Days just to name a few opportunities.

There have been so many selfless acts of kindness which have spread out like ripples in a pond. We thank the multitudes and welcome you if you are reading this and wondering where you, your organization, or your family might fit in. Visit our website and click on the “Donate” tab. You will find all kinds of suggestions for easily making a difference in a child’s life.

New Venue for February Fundraiser & Celebration

Smith's outside

By Pat Kelly

What do corrugated metal barn siding, reclaimed bleacher wood and A to Z Literacy Movement have in common? They are all pieces of our upcoming fundraiser “A Decade in the Books”, to be held at a hip new venue in McHenry called Smith’s Central Garage. Formerly a mechanic’s garage, Smith’s has brought a unique gathering place to the vibrant riverfront area north of Route 120. It is a well planned site with lots of industrial metal, concrete and wood. The bar inside is a casual, homey hangout constructed of vintage materials with a focus on Chevrolets. A fantastic space to hold a fundraiser!

So get out on Saturday, February 2nd and join us at Smith’s Central Garage from 5-8 p.m! Come on inside this cozy locale and sample wines and local beers, bid on some gift baskets and support A to Z as they celebrate their 10th anniversary. Afterward, other interesting spots such as Bimbo’s Italian Restaurant and McHenry Brewing Company are just around the block awaiting your visit.

Inside Smith's


Thank You to All Who Attended Trivia Night!

Our 2nd Trivia Night was a blast.  Don’t miss out on the fun next year!

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And the Answer Is…Trivia Night!

Cabin Fever is settling in. It’s February and we all need a night out with friends.
Sure, we love our Midwestern winters, but we also recognize that shut-in feeling of not having seen many folks due to the colder temps.
It’s time to do something. Something fun.
It’s time to laugh, gather together, and support a fantastic non-profit.
It’s time for A to Z Trivia Night.
Head to the website for tickets – www.atozliteracy.org


You Are Invited!

A to Z would love to have you and your friends join us for our annual FUNdraiser on Saturday, February 21st at 7:00 pm. Trivia Night will consist of three rounds of trivia with live auctions in between. Tables seat between six and eight people, so get a group together, or feel free to come in pairs and join a friendly table of A to Z supporters.

Last year folks had a blast – the perfect way to cure your cabin fever.
Head to the website to buy your tickets and let us know who will be joining you.


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Savers Results – A Big WIN for A to Z! Thank You!




By Pat Kelly

8,677 pounds. That’s close to 4 ½ tons. That is the weight of the goods that you, as a McHenry County community, donated to our A to Z Literacy/Savers fundraiser.

We figure this is a win, win, win, win situation.


Win #1: Nearest and dearest to our heart are the capital funds A to Z Literacy acquired because of your generosity. The books will continue to be sent from America to Zambia, the Zambian children will eat lunch at school and 2 teachers will be paid by us.

Win #2: We feel good that we gave you incentive to clean out some unwanted belongings from your homes. New, reclaimed space is a good thing!

Win #3: By offering your items to Savers, you kept them out of the landfill; Mother Earth is the beneficiary and she thanks you.

Win #4: At the end of this chain, when Savers sells merchandise, a portion of the proceeds go to the Epilepsy Foundation. The result is people helping people.

A to Z Literacy Movement is gratified by your giving hearts and helping hands. It is due to your charitable nature that we are able to work toward our objectives.

TONS of thanks to you!canstock15562523canstock15562523canstock15562523


Spread the Word

Written and Photographed by Scott Dalzell

NOTE: Scott publishes great writing and photography at his blog, Rantings of a Loon. That’s where this article originally appeared. Please check it out!


Concentration was high during trivia rounds.

After yesterday’s busy day, I’ve been completely out of it today. I actually took a three-hour nap. On a hard floor. That never happens.


Mal welcomes attendees to the event.

But one of the highlights of yesterday was for a friend’s not-for-profit, A to Z Literacy Movement, fundraiser. The event was held to help raise money for books, shipping and other costs needed to help run the much-needed organization. The organization provides books to kids who would normally not be able to afford reading material and serves kids in Zambia and Chicagoland. The group also sends a handful of teachers to Zambia once a year to work with many of these children and their teachers.


Positive energy was everywhere on Saturday night.

Many of us take so many things for granted. I find it somewhat ironic that we have students and parents that take education for granted. At times reading, writing, and all the core subjects seem like a huge imposition to children and their families. Education is often times put behind sports and extra-curricular activities.


Pictures throughout the space reminded us why we were there.

But there are places in the world where these basic skills are never offered. If a child and their family desires an education, they often have to travel for hours so they can learn in schools which are dilapidated and lacking in the basic necessities. But it’s through the spirit of the children, their parents and teachers that education holds a place of utmost importance.  My friend’s organization is really trying their best to feed into that need and desire to learn.


History in the making! The winning team plays the tie-breaker round.

The passion of this organization to spread literacy is unlike anything I’ve encountered. A to Z Literacy Movement wants impoverished children to have the chance to see the beauty in reading and literacy. One of the biggest hindrances in a child’s ability to learn is their socio-economic status. If a child isn’t sure where their next meal is coming from they certainly won’t spend what extra money they might have (if they have any) on a book.


MC Bob addresses the crowd.

A to Z Literacy Movement wants to try to solve that problem to the best of their ability. It is an incredibly large task for a small group of people. But this small organization with a huge heart is leading the charge to bring literacy to children everywhere.