You know who wins on Feel Good Friday? Everybody!
Today's organization is Everybody Wins! Iowa. While it sounds like it has to do with the upcoming caucus and presidential election, it's a nonprofit focused on literacy.
Everybody Wins! Iowa was founded by Phyllis and Arthur Tannenbaum with a mission "to increase children's success in school and life through one-to-one reading and mentoring experiences with caring volunteers." The program started in New York and was brought to Iowa in 2002 by Senator Tom Harkin
In Central Iowa, nearly 1 in 5 fourth grade students are not reading on grade level. Everybody Wins! Iowa addresses this with their signature program, Power Read. Teachers recommend students who are struggling with reading, are English language learners or those who might benefit from mentoring. Those students are matched with volunteers and they meet one-on-one for an hour every week at elementary schools and community organizations.
Mentors and students read, talk and bond over books. Reading out loud with students helps them build vocabulary and learn new information, models fluent reading, and motivates children to read on their own. It also increases students' confidence and self-esteem and instills in them a positive attitude about reading. Watch this 2-minute video to see the program in action.
When they started in 2002, Everybody Wins! Iowa served 15 children in 3 schools. In the 2018-2019 school year, over 900 children were matched with mentors in 36 schools across central Iowa. That's how everybody wins: students get consistent interaction with caring adults, mentors get to make a positive impact on the children, schools see an improvement in their students' literacy skills, and companies have an easy way to provide volunteer opportunities to their employees.
If you want to support the work being done by Everybody Wins! Iowa and you live in Iowa, you can volunteer to become a mentor. The rest of us can donate cash, buy and donate a book from their wish list and spread the word on social media by liking their Facbook page and following them on Twitter @EverybodyWinsIA.