The Bookworm
Today’s news from Everybody Wins! Iowa
When you read with a child, everybody wins!
The First Word
Karen Ligas, executive director
Summer break is well under way, but that doesn’t mean we slow down at EWI. We will wrap up a successful session of Power Read at Walnut Street School on July 26, and we met many young readers during the Des Moines Arts Festival at our booth. A big thanks to the volunteers who staffed our booth and provided the littlest festival goers with bookmarks to color. And thanks to Tracy Petersen (and her family) for all their service and support!
Pictured above: Children coloring bookmarks at EWI's booth at the Des Moines Arts Festival
Looking ahead to the upcoming school year, we’re still seeking four site coordinators, mostly in Des Moines, to oversee Power Read. Please contact Stacy Pearce at if you’re interested in one of these paid positions. Training will be on August 30. Meanwhile, volunteer outreach manager Anna Sunstrom is preparing to contact returning mentors about fall programming. Please e-mail Anna at if you plan to mentor this fall and weren't confirmed by your site coordinator or haven't heard from Anna by August 8.

Remember to get your tickets to our 20th Anniversary Celebration on August 31 at the Tom and Ruth Harkin Center at Drake University. Retired U.S. Senator Harkin, our organization’s founder, will make special remarks, and drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. Click here for tickets before they’re sold out!

And finally, we're excited to announce that Everybody Wins! Iowa has once again been selected to participate in A Community Thrives, a grantmaking and crowdfunding program from the USA TODAY NETWORK that helped us raise more than $8,000 last year from grants and individual donations. With your help we hope to build off that success to support the kids in our program. We are challenged to raise $3,000 from now through August 12. Once we meet that donation goal, we will become eligible for multiple grants ranging from $2,500 to $100,000. Your donation today has the power to make an even bigger impact than usual. Please note: donations must be made through the Mightycause platform to count toward our donation goal. Click here to make your donation to our campaign on Mightycause!
Mentor Moment
Connie Kelehan, mentor and former EWI board member
Connie Kelehan may have lost count of the number of students she’s mentored, but her 15 years of volunteering with Everybody Wins! Iowa have been noted, and she recently received a Governor’s Volunteer Award in recognition of her service with the organization. Connie says one of her favorite things about EWI is the ease of volunteering and the reprieve it provides from her normal day. “It really changes your perspective,” she says, “and you really do feel like you make an impact. Having an adult who cares enough to show up every week, you can’t underestimate how much of an impact that makes.”
Connie says an added benefit of mentoring is that it allows her to “stay in tune” with the local schools. A former EWI board member (2012-2018), Connie currently reads at Walnut Street School with Charles this summer and at Edmunds during the school year.
Director Details
Rachel Simon, past board president

When Rachel Simon got involved with EWI she dove in headfirst, spending a year as a mentor before joining the board of directors and quickly rising through the ranks. She served two years as secretary and has just completed another two as president. “You can’t find a better program than Power Read in central Iowa,” she says. “It goes beyond reading. You’re building relationships and you can see the difference you’re making.” As a director, Rachel says she’s most proud of how the organization handled itself during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding ways to continue to support our students. “The fact that we get to celebrate 20 years of Everybody Wins! Iowa this year, especially after COVID, that’s a feather in the cap for our organization,” says Rachel, who mentors at River Woods Elementary School.
Staff Scene
Jordan Mains, technology and development coordinator
As the technology and development director at EWI, Jordan Mains has a hand in just about everything the organization does. “First and foremost, I oversee the technology needs of the organization and make sure that everyone’s in a good place and that the data stays secure,” he says. One of his greatest challenges came during the pandemic, when he researched the many platforms to find one that would allow virtual mentoring and storytime as well as staff and board meetings. Jordan also manages the website and social media and oversees development, especially the many grants that help fund EWI. “Fundraising in general feels really good,” he says. “Every time we get a really large sum, that feels great.”
Picture This
Remember to get your tickets to the Everybody Wins! Iowa 20th Anniversary Celebration on August 31. See The First Word, above, for more details on this exciting event. Click here for tickets.
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. You can help make an impact on our students today by donating to our A Community Thrives campaign on Mightycause here now through August 12.

Many thanks to our recent June donors:
United Way of Central Iowa (Power Read monthly grant)
$1,250.00 - American Legion of Iowa Foundation (Power Read grant)

$500.00 - Walmart Store #1723 (5101 SE 14th St, Des Moines)

$300.00 - Jennifer Adrianse

$100.00 - Robert Raker
$1,000.00 - Pat Knowles

$350.00 - Wells Fargo Bank (volunteer match grant for Timothy Billerbeck)

$103.00 - Hannah Siemer
EWI 20th Anniversary Sponsors
A big thank you the sponsors for our upcoming 20th anniversary event!
Editor Sponsor
Editor Sponsor
Drew J. Gentsch, Whitfield & Eddy Law, Des Moines, IA
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. We just wrapped up the 2021-2022 program year, during which we served 322 students with 326 mentors and 17 staff and provided 5,419 books to our students.