May 2018  
Monthly Update 
Eight-year-old Davien has 2 pet dogs and loves pizza. His favorite color is blue and his favorite sport is football. His favorite book is Flash vs The Evil Hawk. At school, his favorite class is gym. Later in life, he would like to be a football player .
Joy Road

Davien's First Wish - Buy Homes for Everyone  
by Pam Good

One of the most difficult parts about our work at Beyond Basics is bearing witness to the extreme suffering in our communities and our inability to wipe out this literacy crisis in a meaningful way.  

The work we've done is truly a drop in the bucket, but for that drop and the children we reached, it i s life-saving.

I felt the weight of this crisis while reading a story written by second-grader Davien Woods, author of the month in May for Sampson Webber Leadership Academy. Here is his story.

"The Best City In The World"  
One day I met a genie who told me I could have 3 wishes. I wanted to have the best city in the world so I came up with 3 wishes to make that happen. My first wish was to be very rich so I could buy homes for everyone because everyone deserves a home. My second wish was for every family to have a car so they could travel to fun places and go to work and make money. My last wish was for there to be lots of fun things in the city for people to do. The genie gave me all the things I wished for and my city became the best city in the world.
You might wonder why reading his positive, uplifting story weighs on me.

It does because it is the same story written by the children we have served for the past 18 years. These children see people not having a place to lay down their head at night. They always want to buy homes because, as Davien so aptly wrote, "everyone deserves a home."

This is always what they wish.

It saddens me that day after day these young ones see so many people suffering. I wonder, at what point do they get crushed and stop hoping?

I think Beyond Basics provides this ray of hope and the skills they need to climb out of poverty. Literacy is only a starting point.

This is a crisis as devastating as the hurricane in Houston yet we haven't called in the National Guard or truly started to answer the call to prevent the death sentences of these children. Everything in life requires this essential skill; even our faith requires we know the written word. Yet the stark reality remains: our children are drowning from illiteracy.

When will we wake up in this country and do what's right for the children and for the adults who slipped through our broken system without learning the written word? I pray that day comes soon.
Literacy empowers people to take care of themselves and those that they love, and that is life changing for all of us.
Joy Road is the journey I began that has led to Beyond Basics. It all started when I took Exit 9 to Joy Road years ago to help out at a school in Detroit.
The smile on A'Sharia's face that our enrichment programs work. 
Did You Know? -- Internationally Acclaimed Artist Dr. Varnette P. Honeywood Planned to Be a Teacher   

At Spelman College, a historically Black women's college in Atlanta, Georgia,  Dr. Varnette P. Honeywood, nationally and internationally renowned artist and illustrator, planned to major in history and become a teacher, according to her website. However, her drawing instructor, Joe Ross, and the community of students and artists at Spelman persuaded Honeywood switched her major to art where she began to develop her use of brilliant colors and complex designs. Honeywood's participation in the Civil Rights Movement and other protests led her to realize the importance of visual arts in the struggle for human rights.  
Beyond Basics was proud and excited to see the positive impact this year's Art with the Masters program featuring Varnette P. Honeywood has had on students, especially 9th grader A'Sharia. The smile on A'Sharia's face tells it all!
Honeywood's art tells the stories of African American lifestyles and is highly regarded for her use of color and light, patterns and textures.
This program is possible thanks to the generosity of our program sponsors and donors. Thank you so much for all you do for the children we serve!
Beyond Basics Receives Whitman's Helping Hands Community Partner Certificate
Nelson Henry, the principal of Whitman Elementary School in Pontiac, Mich., recently presented Beyond Basics with Whitman's Helping Hand Community Partner "Certificate of Appreciation."

In October 2017, Beyond Basics received a generous grant from Impact100 Oakland County to do one-on-one tutoring at the elementary school. Tutoring began at the school this winter and the award is recognition of Beyond Basics' support and compassionate commitment to serving the children at Whitman Elementary School.

We are grateful to help get more children reading in Pontiac and couldn't have done it without the support of Impact100 Oakland County! Thank you!

105.1 The Bounce Visits Beyond Basics

We are grateful to Joanna and Gello from 105.1 The Bounce for visiting two of our schools in May as part of their 105 Random Acts of Kindness campaign. Our children love to get encouraged by positive mentors and to interact with successful role models!   

Contact us today at 248-250-9304 to participate in an enrichment activity with our students! We are always looking for ways to expand the horizons of our students.  

Gello Student Art with the Masters
Having fun with Art with the Masters and Gello at Thirkel Elementary! 
105.1 The Bounce Joanna and Gello
Joanna and Gello at Burton International Academy on Career Day talking to the kids about how negative circumstances shouldn't define you. 
Beyond Basics Holds Free Book Fairs   
During May, we held "Free Book Friday" at all of our Beyond Basics schools. The Beyond Basics sorted books by genre and helped students choose books they would enjoy reading this summer. We held book fairs at each location so any student who attends these schools can have books at home. There's nothing like reading a book on a hot day in the summer!
Thank you to all of our partners who donated books so we could bring this great program to our schools! A special note of gratitude to the following organizations who went above and beyond this year --
  • Groves High School from Birmingham Public Schools held a book drive and donated over 6,000 books.
  • Holy Name Catholic School in Birmingham also held a book drive and donated nearly 1,000 books.
  • Rochester High School and Baker College in Auburn Hills both donated several hundred books each.
We couldn't do these book fairs without you!

Visionalist Entertainment Productions Nominated for several Michigan Emmys!
A Day in the Life of Elijah Craft
Such amazing news! Visionalist Entertainment Productions
has been nominated for several Michigan Emmys.  
We are not surprised. What an amazing set of films they've created on some very important topics! Thank yo u for shedding light on these important issues and especially for sharing Elijah's story and the problem of illiteracy in our region.  
Join Us for Upcoming Events

We are so grateful to be this year's recipient at the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Spring Charity Event!

10th Annual Spring Charity Event Benefiting Beyond Basics

Date: June 10
Time: 6-9 p.m.
2630 Featherstone Rd, Auburn Hills, MI Room 145
Visit this Facebook event page to learn more.

Thank you to Western Michigan University Cooley Law School for dedicating your time and resources to help the children we serve! 

Support Beyond Basics Today

Contact Johanna Zwally at (248) 408-1735