Submitted by Reading Power
Reading Power celebrated 10 years of individual tutoring changing children’s lives at an anniversary luncheon held last month at the Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago. More than 300 attendees recognized the strides this literacy intervention program has made in 10 years helping more than 1,600 North Chicago elementary students learn to read and write.
Reading Power honored the Gorter Family Foundation for its significant efforts and impact on families and schools in North Chicago. Reading Power’s Anniversary was generously sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, North Chicago Community Bank/A Wintrust Community Bank, BCU, Mariani Landscape, Bernardi Securities and many other corporate and individual donors.
Mayor Leon Rockingham, Jr., Mayor of the City of North Chicago, presented the organization with a Proclamation citing its many strengths and gifts to the community and named that day Reading Power Day.
Marvin Bembry, President of the North Chicago Chamber of Commerce and Regional Director of Abbvie, as well as Pastor of New Beginnings Ministries, offered a thoughtful invocation, again paying tribute to the benefits Reading Power has brought to the North Chicago community.
Executive Director Rebecca Mullen introduced the video “In Reading There is Power” which showcases the literacy intervention program in the classroom and through interviews (video may be viewed at www.readingpowerinc.org). The Gorter Family Foundation was featured in a separate video.
Jim Gorter graciously accepted the honor Reading Power bestowed upon the Gorter Family Foundation on behalf of his wife Audrey, son David Gorter and daughter Mary Gorter Krey, who joined him on the podium.
Ms. Mullen paid tribute to the 350 plus volunteers who have tutored with Reading Power over the past ten years, many of whom were in the room that day, quoting Margaret Mead who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Co-founder Rev. Dr. Gordon Butcher reflected on Reading Power’s origins. He shared his memory from over ten years ago of reading to a little boy in North Chicago and the boy urging him to, please, not stop reading. This served as a formative moment–one that illustrated the need for a literacy intervention program like Reading Power.
Co-founder Mary Jane Hender, Ed.D. introduced the luncheon speaker Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., President of National Louis University where Hender received her graduate training. Reading Power’s curricula are drawn in part from Project Prevent, a program Dr. Hender worked with while at National Louis.
Dr. Megahed’s talk entitled “Every Child Deserves a Great School” provided a larger conversation for the needs of today’s children, particularly those in underserved communities. Citing the many challenges that communities, schools, and students face, she stressed that solutions lie in the communities themselves, in a large part. (Her talk will soon be posted at www.readingpowerinc.org.) She praised Reading Power for providing its literacy intervention services in North Chicago.
Reading Power 10th Anniversary Celebration co-chairs and board members Kathleen Cowie, Mindy Mooney, Beverly Raudabaugh, and Betsy Rosenfield, on behalf of the board, thanked those in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and the surrounding communities, who have given generously of their time and support over the past ten years to help kindergarteners, first and second graders in North Chicago learn to read and write.
Energized by the success of this Celebration, which brought forward twenty more tutors, Reading Power looks to a new decade of individual tutoring changing children’s lives.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer tutor or donor, please visit www.readingpowerinc.org or call Rebecca Mullen at 815-867-7476.