Recap: 10th Annual Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction

The 10th Annual Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction was a sold-out event that broke records for both attendance and funds raised!

Ann Patchett, New York Times best selling author, generously donated her time and energy to make this a truly memorable event. She started by with meeting staff and board for pictures, before joining VIP guests at the Top of the Plaza. Each guest that she personally encountered walked away feeling that they had shared a special moment with the author.

Guests enjoyed glasses of Biltmore Wines on the outdoor patio and in the lobby for the silent auction. The auction had a sleek new design this year with the help of volunteers Rebecca Caldwell, Debbie Lampton, and Ceevah Stevenson. This year’s new Buy It Now table, and the option to pay for Buy It Now items on-the-spot, kept the silent auction busy throughout the entire cocktail hour. 

Hilarious emcee David Ostergaard had guests in stitches throughout dinner, while sponsor representatives from TD Bank and Biltmore Wines spoke to the history of literacy programs in our community, as well as their importance to our neighbors today. The Literacy Council’s Executive Director, Ashley Lasher, and Board Chair, Anne Bleynat, shared exciting news about the Literacy Council’s student outcome rates (some of the best in the state!) and upcoming expansion of the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program. 

Adult Education student Ashley Ramey and her tutor Robbie Coleman, brought the audience to tears as Ashley shared her story, riddled with drug abuse,  a lack of education, abusive relationships, and the challenges of single parenthood. With Robbie’s help, Ashley proudly shared that she graduated from a rehabilitation/treatment facility, passed the GED this summer, and has already earned college credits towards her Associate’s Degree in Political Science. Guests flew to their feet in applause.

Ann Patchett gave a warm, often funny, and touching talk. She recounted the story of the nun who “forced” her to learn to read, and who is now a dear friend and fellow troublemaker. Ann shared that reading and writing had brought her more happiness and fulfillment in her life than anything else, and she entreated the audience to do all that they can to support others in their quest to gain literacy and English language skills.

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New Training Model for Augustine Project Tutors

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circleThe Literacy Council trains Augustine Project volunteers to tutor low-income children who read, write or spell below grade level. In the past, tutors have been required to complete two weeks of face-to-face training, which created a barrier for many interested volunteers.

To make the tutoring experience more accessible, we are piloting a Hybrid Training Model. This new training only requires 16 hours of face-to-face pre-service training. To ensure that Hybrid Training Model volunteers are still fully prepared to tutor struggling young readers, the additional training content is delivered online and through follow-up lesson observations.

Training Dates

The Hybrid Training Model will be offered for the first time November 11-12 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at the Literacy Council. Approximately 10 hours of online instruction will be required before attending.

Training Content

Augustine Project volunteer tutors in the Hybrid Training will learn about:
  • the essential elements of reading instruction
  • current brain research on dyslexia
  • the impact of poverty on literacy
  • syllable types in the English language
  • multisensory learning and the Wilson Reading System
Tutors will learn to use Orton-Gillingham methodologies and Wilson Reading System materials. The program provides the curriculum and lesson plans needed to be successful in teaching a child to read. New tutors will also practice their new skills by delivering their first lessons to a student under the supervision of an experienced mentor.

Qualities of a Great Tutor

It is not necessary to have a background in teaching or education to be a successful Augustine Project tutor! We look for tutors that: 
  • can make a school-year commitment of providing two 50-minute lessons per week
  • have patience and an open mind
  • are sensitive to cultural and learning differences
  • have a GED or high school diploma
  • are willing to undergo a background check

Learn More and Sign Up

Contact Niki Paganelli at niki@litcouncil.com or 828-254-3442 x202 to learn more and sign up for the upcoming tutor training. Click here to read more about the Augustine Project program. 

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“Buy it Now” at the Authors for Literacy Silent Auction!

This year we are offering a new twist on the Authors for Literacy Silent Auction.

We have always offered a Buy It Now price for items at the bottom of each bid sheet. If you purchase the item at the Buy It Now price, the item is no longer up for bidding–it is guaranteed yours! 

This year there will also be one table with specially selected items that will only be Buy It Now priced — they are not up for bidding. That means if you want it, you pay the set price without having to compete with other bidders.

If you choose to Buy It Now (either at the bottom of a regular item’s bid sheet or by purchasing a specialty “Buy It Now Only” item), you may pay for Buy It Now items on the spot, without waiting in the check-out line at the end of the evening.

Three Advantages to Buy It Now:

  • No one can out-bid you
  • You may check out any items that you purchase at a Buy It Now price immediately
  • Your gift will make a significant difference for Literacy Council students

A few of this year’s items:

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Imagination Library Waiting List Temporarily CLOSED

Important Update Aug. 7, 2017

dpil launchIncreasing interest

We have received an unprecedented amount of interest in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library over the past two months, leading to an explosion of the waiting list. While the state of North Carolina did pass a budget with funds to expand the program in the state, we have not been informed of if or when we might receive funding (or how much!) to further expand beyond our current 500-child capacity. 

Reaching our dreams

Please know that it is our intention to expand this program to as many children in Buncombe County as is financially possible. Right now, we do not have additional funding to serve more than 500 children per month. We hope that the state budget will impact enrollment positively. At this time it is unclear when we will have information about this from the state, but we are working closely with our partner Buncombe Partnership for Children to gather information as quickly as possible.

Right now, the waiting list is a year and a half long.

We know that it is not fair to add families to a waiting list on which they could have to wait multiple years under our current capacity, particularly if their children are likely to age out of the program while on the waiting list.

A temporary solution

We have therefore decided to temporarily stop accepting registrations for the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library waiting list at the Literacy Council of Buncombe County. Registrations postmarked Aug. 6, 2017 or earlier will still be added to the waiting list. We will continue to pursue information (together with Buncombe Partnership for Children) from the state about whether we qualify for funding through the state budget. If we receive funding in order to serve additional children, we will reopen the waiting list for new registrations. This will be announced on the Literacy Council of Buncombe County’s website and Facebook page

Please don’t forget, if your child lives in Swannanoa, Black Mountain, or Montreat they are eligible to register through the Black Mountain Rotary Club, which does not currently have a waiting list. Click here to register with them

We ask for your patience as we pursue the opportunity to expand this program. We share your goal of serving as many children as possible in our community. 

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Authors for Literacy VIP tickets available now

Would you like to spend one-on-one time with Ann Patchett? Purchase VIP tickets today!

The Authors for Literacy VIP reception includes the opportunity to spend one-on-one time taking pictures and talking with the keynote speaker, Ann Patchett. VIP guests will also enjoy hors d’oeuvres, beer, and wine at the Renaissance Hotel Top of the Plaza — one of downtown Asheville’s most spectacular viewpoints. VIP passes cost $500 and include two general admission tickets to the Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction, as well as two tickets to the VIP reception.

The reception is at the Top of the Plaza, 12th floor, from 5:30-6:15 pm. VIP Tickets include passed hors d’oeuvres.  Space is limited.

Purchase tickets online

For more information or to purchase tickets by phone, contact LuAnn Arena at 828-254-3442 x206 or luann@litcouncil.com

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