Do you remember a book you truly loved as a child?  What about the family and community member who read to you?

Through our program Power Lunch, hundreds of students in the Boston Public Schools are discovering and exploring a love for reading that we hope will last a life-time. Community partners, serving as mentors, from corporations across the city read to students during their lunch time, sharing a love of books and inspiring them to discover a new favorite. Through this time together the children are exposed to new words, stories, and ideas about the world. At the end of three years they have not only improved their reading skills, but also formed a relationship with their mentor that will impact them for the rest of their lives. As Alexia Vaun Hefflyunn, a Power Lunch volunteer at the Quincy School reflected, “This is the third year that my partner and I have worked with my student. She is so excited and bright and such a pleasure to see every week. Her reading has come a long way and she is more confident and expressive now. She’s a joy.”

Power Lunch

In order to support the terrific work our reading mentors do, we’re trying something new this year – a Read-a-Thon. Similar to other “a-thons” that you may have participated in or supported before for a given cause, the Read-a-Thon’s concept is simple and fun – volunteers are competing both individually and on teams to reach a goal of raising $10,000 by June 1, 2011. All of the money raised goes directly back to support Power Lunch. Participants can raise money in a myriad of ways – bake sales, trivia nights, or even just telling their stories about time spent with their students!

After kicking off the Read-a-Thon at our Power Lunch Winter Warmer event in January, Power Lunch volunteers have been working to show their commitment. Team Captain Amanda Gauthier from KPMG took the initiative to become our first registered volunteer and won a fully catered Trish McEvoy make-up party from Neiman Marcus. Power Lunch volunteers continue to “brag” about the students with whom they work to people in their lives in order to raise both awareness about the program and funds to support its operation.

A Power Lunch volunteer’s commitment is truly a marathon, not a sprint, as they visit with their students on a weekly or biweekly basis over the course of three years. Just as in a physical marathon, however, our competitors need support!

So, “for the love of reading,” please consider supporting a Power Lunch volunteer as they race to the finish line!

You are doing something amazing—you are helping a student succeed! BRAG ABOUT IT!

If you are interested in participating in the Read-a-Thon, please contact Karleigh Rose Pettit to sign up. Karleigh Rose will provide you with all of the necessary marketing materials to share with your friends, families and other networks to promote the Read-a-Thon.

The volunteer who raises the most money by June 1, 2011 will win an e-reader and the team that raises the most collectively will win a group prize to celebrate their victory! Remember: the more volunteers that participate, the less money each person has to raise!

-Karleigh Rose Pettit, Power Lunch Manager