On Wednesday, April 10th, The Literacy Cooperative hosted its annual Read Across America Celebration at Cuyahoga Community College. The event underscored the importance of literacy, following the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day dedicated to fostering youth literacy. The evening kicked off with a delightful blend of appetizers, networking, and a presentation showcasing snapshots of our impactful work alongside heartfelt testimonials from our partners and Imagination Library families.

Margaret Bernstein, Director of Advocacy and Community Initiatives for WKYC and our enthusiastic emcee, set the tone by extending a warm welcome and expressing gratitude to event sponsors. Dr. Michael Baston, President of Cuyahoga Community College, shared inspiring insights on adult literacy. Cleveland City Council Member Richard Starr and Cuyahoga County Council Member Meredith Turner further enriched the event with their perceptive remarks on the crucial role of literacy in our society.

“We live in a society where over 50% of our adults lack literacy skills, we have a challenge on our hands and we must do something about it,” said Cleveland City Council Member Richard Starr. “How can we educate our kids when their parents also need the resources?”

Joan Spoerl, Director of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library at The Literacy Cooperative, introduced a heartfelt testimonial video showing families who have benefited from the Imagination Library program, reinforcing its importance in creating a world of young readers. You can watch the testimonial video here.

Actor, philanthropist, and politician Peter Lawson Jones infused the event with lively energy through an engaging “flower raise” activity, raising over $45,000 that will provide over 1,800 children with one book per month for a full year. Erin Deimling, Client and Community Relations Director at PNC Bank introduced the keynote speaker, Steve Potash, CEO of OverDrive, who shared literacy’s role in the digital age and its impact on Cuyahoga County.

America SCORES was presented the Kurt Karakul Literacy Award, for its exceptional work in advancing literacy in our community.

Thank you to the following whose time, thoughts, treasures, and talents helped make this event possible: Steve Potash, Kurt Karakul, PNC Bank, Cuyahoga Community College, Margaret Bernstein, Peter Lawson Jones, America SCORES Cleveland, Michaelangelo’s Photography, Scott Zimmer,  Meredith Turner, Richard Starr, Sheila Calloway, Myesha Watkins, Elle and Cori Crowe, Erica, Michael, and Sean Fitzpatrick, Jill’s Literacy League volunteers, and The Literacy Cooperative Board of Trustees. A special thanks to everyone who attended the event and donated to The Literacy Cooperative.

Special thanks to the 2024 sponsors: