“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”~ Dr. Seuss
Executive Director Pamela Civins shares her thoughts about Big Cheese Reads on the eve of our 9th Annual Gala
Seven years ago, I experienced my first Big Cheese Reads gala – it was Boston Partners in Education’s 2nd time hosting this event, the annual celebration of our Big Cheese Reads Initiative. During the initial planning process, I remember saying, “What could go wrong? It’s just a party!” Well, while the gala is celebrating everything about Boston Partners in Education, it’s more than “just a party.” To say the least, I was a bit naïve!
That year in 2006, about 250 guests attended the gala. Today, as we prepare for our 9th Annual Big Cheese Reads Gala, on Wednesday, April 10, we are expecting nearly 500 attendees. We are proud to have doubled the guest count, as well as the amount of money raised. These crucial funds help support the work of our three core programs (School Volunteer Program, Math Rules!, and Power Lunch).
This year’s gala will be unique because we are recognizing the extraordinary success of Boston’s nationally acclaimed Orchard Gardens K-8 School. As a partner of our organization for many years, Orchard Gardens has utilized our academic mentors to help students reach their full potential. We also regularly bring in a group of “Big Cheeses” to read stories aloud, and speak with the middle school students about the importance of literacy and career development.
Over the years, we have proven that no one is ever too old for a read aloud! Similar to how the gala celebration has grown, the programmatic aspect of the Big Cheese Reads has expanded as well. By the end of the academic year, we will achieve our goal of having 100 Big Cheese Readers interact with over 2,000 students!
Thanks to this initiative, I will visit 25 K-8 and middle schools in Boston. Being present in the classroom and listening to our “Big Cheeses” allows me to learn more about Boston’s corporate and community leaders, and the steps they took to achieve success in their personal and professional lives. Each person’s journey is an inspiration to the students (and, me too!). Boston Partners in Education is honored to help make these connections now, and for generations to come.
What Happens at a Big Cheese Reading?
“Big Cheeses” are business and community leaders who visit Boston middle school classrooms in order to make an impact in the lives of our community’s youth. During and after reading a story aloud to a class, they help students make the crucial connection between literacy, career and success. “Big Cheeses” share their own experiences with the students, including their personal career path and challenges. Many opportunities arise for our “Big Cheeses” to offer advice and answer any questions the students may have.
Being a Big Cheese Reader is not only fun and easy; it’s a meaningful way to make a difference in the lives of students who may otherwise have little personal exposure to successful business executives and community leaders. It can be challenging for children growing up in under-resourced environments to understand why it’s important for them to continue working hard in school.
A Big Cheese Reader is a positive role model who underscores an important message: succeeding in school will help you succeed in life!