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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

It's tax season, which means many of us are thinking of our finances and charitable contributions. You can make a lasting legacy and significant impact on our future when you name Everybody Wins! Iowa as a beneficiary of your donor-advised fund, life insurance, or retirement plan assets. View our legacy giving info sheet to learn more, or email Karen or call (515) 277-7590. Beneficiary designations can be updated any time to meet your needs so be sure you review them regularly. If you have already named EWI as your beneficiary, please let me know, and thank you! 

We’re not just thinking of taxes this spring; we’re also thinking about how to raise the profile of EWI. The Special Events Committee has been brainstorming ideas to reach more Iowans than ever to recruit mentors and fund Power Read. Look for us at events around Des Moines this year, starting with our final Kinship in the Neighborhood event at Kinship Brewing Company this Thursday, March 23, and the always popular Des Moines Book Festival this Saturday, March 25. See details below in Picture This. And if you’re interested in volunteering with us at events, let us know. We’re making a list of interested volunteers. You can email Anna if you'd like to be added to our list.

We’re still celebrating 20 years of Everybody Wins! Iowa, and this month our students received a special mad lib activity to mark the occasion. Click here to play along.

March also means spring break, and we heard some great observations from our students and mentors before they took a few days off from Power Read:

“My mom loves when I get to bring a book home! We sit on the couch and read it together." -Celine

“I don’t care who I read with; I’m just happy to be here!” -Keeha

Reading Room

Spring Break means another book giveaway to help our students build their home libraries. Here are the books our students received this month:

1st grade:

Who is the Mystery Reader?

2nd grade:

Shelby & Watt: Tide Pool Troubles

3rd grade:

Choose Your Own Adventure: Dino Lab

4th grade:

Choose Your Own Adventure: Your Very Own Robot

5th & 6th grade:

Power of Flight: A Pick Your Path Adventure

Mentor Moment

Rob Barron, mentor

Rob Barron was a “pretty junior” staffer working for Sen. Tom Harkin in Des Moines in 2002 when the senator brought Everybody Wins! to Iowa. “I started reading at Monroe because it was important to my boss, but then I found that it mattered to my student and it mattered to me,” Rob says. By then, Rob had the bug and he read on Capitol Hill when he moved to Washington, DC, and then at Cattell and Moulton elementary schools when he returned to Des Moines. Except for the break during the pandemic, he’s been mentoring for 20 years. While Power Read still feels as fresh as it did in the beginning, Rob says the COVID-19 disruption is still posing challenges and presenting opportunities. “Engagement in kids’ lives isn’t back to where it should be,” he says. “We’re rather disconnected, but through mentoring we can rebuild ties and show kids that they matter in our community.”

Director Details

Tracy Petersen, Special Events Committee co-chair 

I’m Tracy Petersen, and I write The Bookworm. I’ve served on the Board of Directors for three years and I’m co-chair of the Special Events Committee. My goal in all these roles is to broadcast how amazing Everybody Wins! Iowa is. I’m always trying to think of new ways to raise our profile so we can attract more mentors and dollars to reach as many central Iowa students as possible. Every child deserves an adult who shows up again and again with nothing but love and support. The impact you can have in just 30 minutes a week is incredible. I also want to remind caring adults about how fulfilling mentoring is. It’s impossible to walk away from a half hour of reading with my students at Moore Elementary in Des Moines and Crestview School of Inquiry in Clive with anything but a smile on my face.

Picture This

Don’t forget to join us on March 23 as we wrap up our 2023 first quarter partnership with Kinship Brewing Company at 255 NW Sunrise Dr. in Waukee. EWI representatives will be on hand from 4 to 7 pm to chat about the program as you enjoy basketball, beers and bites, and a book bracket activity for a chance to win prizes from Kinship.

On Saturday, March 25, look for us at the Des Moines Book Festival, which runs from 9 am to 6 pm at Capital Square, 400 Locust St., in downtown Des Moines. Volunteers from EWI will be recruiting mentors and offering an activity to test your literary literacy.

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 February donors are:


United Way of Central Iowa (Power Read monthly grant)

$150.00 - Kelly Rush

$105.00 - Mike Sheehy

$120.00 - Erin Novak

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. Please view our homepage on our website for current data on mentors, students, and books distributed.

Everybody Wins! Iowa


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

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