Earlier this month, Everybody Wins! DC (EW! DC), the largest children’s mentoring and literacy non-profit in the Washington Metropolitan Area, held its 21st annual gala celebration at the Capital Hilton Hotel to honor of its hardworking students, mentors, sponsors, staff and volunteers with an amazing evening of community fun.
During the silent auction, guests mingled with beloved Washington Nationals mascots, Abe Lincoln and Screech, and Daniel Tiger from PBS while bidding on incredible items. To complement the cocktail hour, the BJ Simmons Quartet played smooth jazz as guests took photos, ate finger-food, and placed their bids.
During the dinner program, the student performers stole the show. The Tyler Percussion Ensemble began the program with a lively performance using drums, chimes and tambourines. Then, after an introduction by the evening’s emcee, Larry Smith from WJLA’s Good Morning Washington, the Savoy Players from Savoy Elementary School danced on stage to a song from the “Lion King.” One student even made his way through the crowd on stilts! Needless to say, the standing ovation after their performances came as no surprise.
Perhaps the sweetest moment of the night happened when Cam, a seventh grader from School Without Walls at Francis Stevens, awarded his own mentor with the 2016 Minnion Friedman Mentor of the Year award. Richard Mintz, this year’s recipient and EW!DC Board member, has read with Cam during his lunchtime for five years and he said the two have become close friends. On stage he told the crowd and his mentee: “I feel like I raised a third child. You’re a member of the family!”
After a spirited and successful live auction hosted by Jeff Lesher, two principals- Carmen Shepherd from Thomson Elementary and Peter Young from Brent Elementary- shared their stories on how EW!DC Reading Mentors have positively impacted the lives of their students. These speeches were a personal and touching reminder about the impact a mentor can have on a child’s life.
Finally, Mr. Smith announced this year’s recipients of the Principal-level sponsor awards. Accepting on the behalf of their organizations, the following individuals were recognized: Allen Chew from AT&T, Mark Young from Skadden & Arps and Karen Burkhart from USAA.
Now in its 21st year, EW!DC has served more than 60,000 students and distributed over 200,000 books in DC area public schools since its inception. EW!DC tackles illiteracy head-on, operating programs in 39 low-income public elementary schools and serving more than 5,000 children in the Washington Metropolitan Area this year. Through EW!DC’s two programs, Power Lunch and StoryTime, children develop a love for reading as well as confidence and self-esteem in the classroom.
Images courtesy EW DC!