While downtown Dallas streets and surrounding highways were clogged due to the presence of President Donald Trump’s presentation at American Airlines Center, an invitation-only crowd gathered at Mary McDermott Cook‘s Dump Top on Thursday, October 17. The occasion was for Readers 2 Leaders supporters to learn about the dismal state of literacy among grade schoolers. Here’s a report from the field:
Dallas faces a reading emergency: 42% of Dallas County 3rd graders are behind. That’s why Readers 2 Leaders gathered 50 of their closest donors, partners, and volunteers on Thursday, October 17, at the west Dallas home of Mary McDermott Cook to discuss the root causes of low literacy levels and support R2L’s efforts to tackle the crisis.
Guests enjoyed wonderful hors d’ oeuvres against an evening backdrop of the lighted Dallas skyline on a clear, cool evening.
Those present included administrators from schools Readers 2 Leaders partners with, as well as Readers 2 Leaders board members, volunteers and supporters.
Readers 2 Leaders will provide high-dosage literacy tutoring to nearly 800 students this year through direct service work at schools and community centers as well as coaching and consulting with other nonprofits
Dallas-based Child Poverty Action Lab Executive Director Alan Cohen shared remarks with R2L’s guests. He shared with the group that 1 in 3 children in Dallas lives in poverty, that child poverty is a moral issue, and economic issue, and a Dallas issue. Through the right mix of systems and resources, we can reduce child poverty in Dallas County by 50% within a single generation.
Readers 2 Leaders stands poised at the intersection of literacy and poverty to help children develop reading skills so they succeed in school and graduate to live productive lives, breaking the generational cycle of poverty.
Guests at the event included gracious hostess Mary McDermott Cook, Mary’s dear friend and former R2L board member Fran Tynan, Crystal Charity Ball liaison for Readers 2 Leaders Anne McPherson and her husband John McPherson, Readers 2 Leaders founders Ted and Stephanie Schweinfurth, Texas Bank Capital representatives Michelle George and Brandon Jones (Michelle is also an R2L board member), Readers 2 Leaders instructional staff.
Besides remarks by Mr. Cohen, R2L Board Chair Michael Kleiman welcomed guests; R2L President and CEO Norma Nelson gave a program update; and Readers 2 Leaders board member Laurie Grace Bouldin shared her experience as an R2L “buddy reader” and highlighted the critical need for volunteers to assist in Readers 2 Leaders’ programs.
* Photo provided by Readers 2 Leaders