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The Bookworm

Today’s news from Everybody Wins! Iowa

When you read with a child, everybody wins!

The First Word

Karen Ligas, executive director

The holiday season is reaching its peak, the year is coming to an end, and we’re closing the chapter on another successful semester of Power Read.

In the past few weeks, we’ve received donations of books from our Amazon wish list from mentors and others, along with a number of generous donations totaling $2,677 during our Giving Tuesday fundraising effort. And we’d love to be a part of your year-end giving so we can match even more students and mentors next semester. Please click here to make a donation online or mail a check to Everybody Wins! Iowa P.O. Box 691, Des Moines, IA 50303. 

Of course we still have students waiting to be matched with mentors at a few schools, so please contact Anna Sunstrom at asunstrom@everybodywinsiowa.org if you’d like to join us as a mentor next semester and continue promoting our volunteer opportunities with friends and family (apply online).

In the upcoming year we’re looking forward to celebrating our mentors, adding students and mentors to our Power Read programs, and holding a special event at Kinship Brewing Company in Waukee. See details below in the Picture This section. 

Have a happy holiday season, and may you find time for a good book!

Reading Room

Our students went home for the winter break with a biography about a prominent individual such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Misty Copeland, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg, along with a READO book of their choice off our reading carts. It’s always a pleasure to help our students build their home libraries.

Director Details

Tammy Blackwell, EWI treasurer

Years ago, Tammy Blackwell’s pastor told her that when she found the right volunteer opportunity, she’d have a more fulfilling experience. About seven years ago, searching for a way to work with children, she found what she was looking for when she signed up to mentor at Edmunds Elementary in Des Moines. “This program is all about unconditional love,” she says, quipping, “Where else are you going to go where someone comes running to you on a Monday?” Since then, Tammy has joined the EWI Board of Directors and currently serves as treasurer. Those obligations are considerably different than those of her full-time position as finance senior manager with The Krause Group. “Everybody Wins! Iowa is a non-profit, and as the treasurer I see exactly how important it is to have the financial contributions we need to enable us to do meaningful work,” she says. “Even though we are a very lean organization, we always need contributions to cover our costs.”

Staff Scene

Gina Ruggle, site coordinator

Gina Ruggle’s plans to mentor at Perry Elementary School were sidelined by COVID. When Power Read resumed this fall, the mentors learned the program in Perry needed a site coordinator and all eyes turned to her. “I said I would do it with the stipulation that I could still read with the kids,” Gina says. “I just really enjoy kids.” In only a few months Gina has recruited enough mentors to expand Power Read from second grade to third grade. “If I can fill up all of my spots in the third grade, I’m going to add fourth grade,” she says. EWI is the “best of the best” when it comes to volunteer opportunities, Gina says: “I think the kids are great, they think the other mentors and I are great. I just wish everyone could see how rewarding this is. I can’t express how much I get out of it.”

Picture This

We are excited to announce that Kinship Brewing Company has selected Everybody Wins! Iowa as our Kinship in the Neighborhood's partner for the first quarter of 2023! Please join us at Kinship Brewing in Waukee from 4-7 pm on January 24 for a family-friendly event and an opportunity to raise funds for our Power Read program! 

During the last week of January we’ll also celebrate National Mentoring Month by honoring all of our mentors and hosting special programs during Power Read.

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.

Super Sponsors

The cost of supporting one student is $500. Please click here to sponsor a student today. We are thankful for the support of all our program sponsors.

Our recent November donors are:


Viking Foundation of Lincoln


Gannett Foundation/USA Today Network (grant from A Community Thrives campaign)

United Way of Central Iowa (Power Read monthly grant)

$500.00 - Kathryn Osmann

$259.00 - Betsy Noyes

$104.12 - Denise Hotopp

$104.00 - Tracy & Dennis Petersen

$100.00 - Deanna Kennedy

$311.00 - Gaye Wiekierak

$200.00 - Michael Yung

$104.00 - Linda Heck

$100.00 - Emily Miller

$100.00 - Constance Schwarz

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.

Current program data through the end of December:

# of students enrolled: 333

# of book distributed: 2,130

# of other volunteers: 17

# of mentors: 347

# of volunteer hours: 2,183

# of program sites: 28

Everybody Wins! Iowa


(515) 277-7590 (ext. 8461) | info@everybodywinsiowa.org

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