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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

Power Read is under way, and we couldn’t be more excited! Smiles are everywhere as students and mentors get acquainted (or reacquainted) as they dive into books in central Iowa schools. Our first giveaway of the school year takes place later this month; each student will receive a book to add to their home library. We also have monthly special activities and giveaways planned to celebrate our 20th anniversary with our students. This month they’ll receive a word search chock-full of terms about books and Power Read. Click here to download the word search if you’d like to play along!

Dozens of booklovers turned out Oct. 11 for a lighthearted literary battle at Fox Brewing in West Des Moines. Teams tested their mettle in categories including banned books, famous first lines, and books adapted to film. A big thanks to Fox Brewing for donating the space and to all who participated. Every dollar raised by the event benefits Power Read. Click here for photos from the annual trivia event.

Photo from EWI trivia night at Fox Brewing

Do you have a half hour to read with a student? Please contact Anna Sunstrom at asunstrom@everybodywinsiowa.org if you’d like to become a mentor. We’re also still seeking a few more site coordinators. You can contact Stacy Pearce at spearce@everybodywinsiowa.org if you’d like to join our staff. 

Don’t have time to volunteer but you’d like to support us financially? Giving Tuesday is coming up next month and is a perfect time to make a contribution. If you’d like to spread your donations out over the year, an automatic withdrawal once a month might be the answer for you. Click here to get started.

Our Power Read programs are off to a great start so far! Check out some of the photos from our programs below. 

Reading Room

Wonder what we’re reading these days? Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan, is part of the Des Moines Public Schools 5th grade curriculum and is being read alongside the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

These were also the subject of discussion at Des Moines Public Library events this month.

Director Details

Mike Sheehy, EWI board member

Mike Sheehy is just a member of the EWI Board of Directors and Recruitment Committee for the first time since joining the board in 2015. He’s served as vice president and co-chair of the Recruitment Committee and has overseen many of the organization’s personnel duties. Mike was deeply involved in EWI leadership when COVID halted in-person mentoring. “The initial work we did to respond to COVID and adjust our policies to support that uncertainty was pretty rewarding,” he says. “Our board was able to provide focus under uncertain circumstances. The challenge looking ahead is getting back to the growth path we were on pre-pandemic and continue to mentor more and more students.” Mike mentors at Findley Elementary School, which is opening its doors to volunteers this fall for the first time since 2020. What’s he looking forward to reading? “Whatever the book of choice is for first-graders,” he says.

Mentor Moment

Zainab Drawbond, EWI mentor

When Zainab Drawbond moved from her native Nigeria to Des Moines with her new husband, an Iowan, she sought an opportunity to combine her love of reading with a way to get to know her new community. Over the past summer she began mentoring at the Walnut Street School and Zainab found everything she was looking for and more: a respite from the stresses of the medical residency she’s doing. “When I started mentoring, I’d just finished a really big exam. Reading with my student got me away from the academics and out of my own head,” she says. “My student was so animated, I found myself smiling all week.” Zainab says she came to EWI with no expectations but has found the organization to be organized and well run. It’s no surprise that she’s back at the Walnut Street School this fall.

Picture This

Mark your calendars! Giving Tuesday is November 29. Your support is always appreciated. It follows Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, and Cyber Monday! GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of radical generosity. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Since then, it has grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. We hope to increase the number of Power Read student sponsorships (we provide Power Read to students at no cost to them or their families or the schools). More information will be shared soon and your support is always appreciated.

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

Many thanks to Lois Fingerman, who recently made a generous donation in honor of her husband Louis, a longtime Power Read mentor. 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 September donors are:

United Way of Central Iowa (Power Read monthly grant)


 Lois Fingerman (in memory of Louis Fingerman, long term EWI mentor)

$420.00 - staff from Polk County Recorder's Office

$200.00 - Betsy Noyes

$200.00 - Michael Yung

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 September:

# of students enrolled: 211

# of book distributed: 1,527

# of other volunteers: 23

# of mentors: 282

# of volunteer hours: 405

# of program sites: 28

Everybody Wins! Iowa


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

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