Once a year, the CLiF Staff and Board of Directors get together to discuss what CLiF has done over the past year, what’s coming up, and to enjoy dinner together while taking a breather from our busy, busy lives. That happened at CLiF World HQ on Monday, and this year, we had a lot to talk about.
(See photo above – Back Row (L to R): Program Director Meredith Scott, Secretary Dan Lynch, outgoing Board Chair Glenn Curie, Rick Roesch, incoming Board Chair Mitzi Barrett, Treasurer Matt Rightmire, Program Manager Jana Brown; Front Row (L to R): Executive Director Duncan McDougall, Jess Eakin, Laura Rice, Data/Office Manager Stephanie Kucinskas, Communications Manager Erika Nichols-Frazer, Deb Nelson.
Last night, CLiF staff, board members, past grantees and volunteers joined more than 50 folks from the Monadnock region of New Hampshire at the Mariposa Museum & World Cultures Center in Peterborough, NH to celebrate literacy and learn more about CLiF’s work promoting a love of reading and writing across the region.
CLiF runs more than 500 literacy events, gives away $550,000 in children’s books, and serves thousands of children each year to nurture a love of reading and writing among low-income, at-risk, and rural kids (up to age 12) in Vermont and Hampshire.
What do shipwrecks, flying pigs, and talking fruit have in common? There were all featured in story submissions for the Vermont PBS Kids’ annual Writing Contest, which I had the pleasure of judging last week.
Last Friday, I joined nine other writers, librarians, and members of educational non-profits at Vermont’s PBS headquarters in Colchester to review 106 compelling stories written and illustrated by talented students from all over the state.
Have you had a mentor who influenced your life?
I’ve had quite a few, some through formal mentorship programs, but most have happened organically with a friend or colleague I respect who shares their experience and advice with me and acts as a sounding board when I need it.
What do you get when you add 130 teachers, principals, librarians and superintendents from 37 elementary schools throughout two states together for an intensive, jam-packed literacy conference? One inspiring day and a whole lot of ideas for promoting literacy to take home to your school, library, and community!
“Be like a duck,” actor Michael Caine once said. “Calm on the surface, but paddling like the dickens underneath.” That sounds a lot like CLiF: our small staff and team of volunteers and presenters always keep smiles on their faces while labelling and packing hundreds of books for giveaways each week, telling stories and giving away thousands of books at more than 500 events each year, and inspiring thousands of children to love reading and writing.
Did you know it’s Read Across America Day? It’s also World Book Day, and the beginning of National Reading Month. I know, all these “holidays” can get a little overwhelming and even feel a bit arbitrary. It seems like, just about any day you pick, you can find somebody somewhere declaring it “National Popcorn Day” (January 19) or “National Alien Abductions Day” (Get ready; it’s March 20 according to this website).
My favorite part of CLiF events is always helping kids choose their own books to take home. But the CLiF event I went to last week was a little different. There were no kids. It wasn’t in a school, daycare center, or library.
The old adage goes “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” The same is true of reading and writing. Give a child a book and they might be entertained for a few hours, especially if that child had the chance to choose their own book.