The Bookworm
Today’s news from Everybody Wins! Iowa
When you read with a child, everybody wins!
The First Word
Karen Ligas, executive director
We’re counting down the days until August 31 when Everybody Wins! Iowa celebrates its 20th anniversary. Ticket sales close on August 24, so please click here now so you can join us in celebrating and supporting reading mentorship! Former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, who brought EWI to his home state in 2002 after being a reading mentor with Everybody Wins! DC, will be the keynote speaker at our event.
The 20th anniversary celebration will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 31 at The Tom and Ruth Harkin Center, 2800 University Ave., in Des Moines. This is the first public event being held at the center, home of The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement, which opened at Drake University in 2020. Tickets are $50 for the public and $25 for current and former mentors (click here to purchase). All proceeds go toward Power Read so we can continue pairing students and mentors together for many more decades to come.
We’re not just celebrating this month; we’re also gearing up for the school year. Want to serve EWI as a Power Read site coordinator at a local school? We still need staff for three or four sites this fall. Please contact Stacy Pearce at if you’re interested in joining our staff. Training will be on August 30.
I also want to thank everyone who donated to EWI during the A Community Thrives fundraiser. Thanks to our generous supporters, we raised a total of $3,225, making us eligible for grants from the USA TODAY network. Your continued support is much appreciated.
Staff Scene
Anna Sunstrom, volunteer/match manager
Volunteer/match manager Anna Sunstrom sometimes compares herself to Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. “Volunteers don’t often see me, but they should know I’m there,” she says. Sunstrom, who first got involved with EWI as a mentor when she was a student at Grand View University, receives mentor applications and conducts background checks and orientations before sending new mentors to site coordinators to be matched with students. She also assists the organization with special events and manages data. Sunstrom occasionally ventures into the schools that EWI serves, and calls that the best part of her job: “I love seeing the matches work together. I like seeing the relationships form.”

Sunstrom is currently working on a master’s degree in mental health counseling and is bringing elements of social emotional learning into the Power Read program. “Even if students have great mental health, they get a huge boost from having a mentor, and the reading and mentoring work together to boost each other and help our students,” she says.
Director Details
Katie Jones, board president
Katie Jones is the new president of the EWI Board of Directors, and she’s wasting no time in getting down to business. “This is still a challenging time due to COVID,” she said. “We know lots of kids have slipped behind in reading during the pandemic. Meanwhile, costs are rising, and fundraising has become more challenging. Now more than ever, it’s important to support reading in young kids.” Jones is a fan of the monthly donation option. “I make my donation recurring, so it’s spread out over the course of the year,” she said. A mentor of five years, Jones reads at Capitol View Elementary School and emphasizes the importance of the mentorship aspect of Power Read. “One of my students went through some hard times and it was clearly meaningful for that child to have another adult to talk to. For me, Power Read is so easy and it’s great to develop a relationship with your students over the years.”
Picture This
Ticket sales for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Everybody Wins! Iowa close on August 24. See The First Word, above, for more details on this special event and click here for tickets.

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for our annual EWI Trivia at Fox Brewing in West Des Moines on Oct. 11. We’ll have five categories of literacy themed trivia, snacks will be provided, and beer will be available for purchase. Check back here for more details on this fun event!
Follow us on social media (links at the top and bottom of this email), visit our website, and look for updates in future newsletters for more details on these and future events as well as Power Read this fall.
Super Sponsors
Each year, Everybody Wins! Iowa serves hundreds of central Iowa students in need of a reading mentor. For a monthly donation of $41.67, you can ensure a child will get the help they need to become successful in school and in life. Please click here to sponsor a student today.

Many thanks to our recent July donors:
United Way of Central Iowa (Power Read monthly grant)
$1,000.00 - Siegwerk USA Inc

$500.00 - John Deere Financial (donation match)

$300.00 - Tracy & Dennis Petersen

$100.00 - Lyn Johnston

$100.00 - Leanne Smith
$500.00 - Mike Sheehy

$500.00 - William Eddy

$200.00 - Todd Millang

$103.00 - Samantha Overmohle

$100.00 - Jodi Ingham
EWI 20th Anniversary Sponsors
A big thank you the sponsors for our upcoming 20th anniversary event!
Editor Sponsor
Editor Sponsor
Drew & Dawn Gentsch
Publicist Sponsors
Amanda Bjornson
Dennis and Tracy Petersen
Publicist Sponsors
Kate Meyer
Make A Difference
Want to donate? Click here.

Interested in mentoring, joining the board, or serving on a committee? Click here.

Have an idea or suggestion for Power Read, Everybody Wins! Iowa, or The Bookworm? Click here.
By The Book
Everybody Wins! Iowa is a central Iowa non-profit organization whose mission is to increase children’s success in school and life through one-to-one reading and mentoring experiences with caring volunteers. Our signature program is Power Read, in which students read with the same volunteer mentor every week, usually over lunch. Since its inception in 2002, 8,500 mentors have read to 9,400 students across seven school districts. In addition to one-to-one read-aloud activities, EWI provides each student with books to take home and build their home libraries. We gave 5,419 books to students in FY22.