26th Annual Spelling Bee Breaks All Records!

Rezaz team

Congratulations to Just Deserts from Pack Memorial Library who won the Bee in a heated spell-off round with the six remaining teams.

It was a packed house at the Salvage Station with 14 eager teams and an enthusiastic audience. Emcee David Ostergaard brought his best punch lines, keeping the teams on their toes and the audience in stitches. He somehow manages to make even the recitation of the spelling bee rules hilarious.

Rezaz team

Much Ado About Sofra, Team Rezaz

There was a Shakespeare-inspired song by Katie Kasben and intermission improv entertainment by The Reasonable Endings, a collective of various improv groups in Asheville. All spellers received valuable prizes, as well as some audience members.

This year broke all records raising $12,000 for Literacy Council programs. Funds were raised through team entry fees and “cheat” purchases, audience tickets, and a hilarious auction of items from emcee David Ostergaard’s home.

We could not have done it without the teams, the audience, our Spelling Bee Committee, and volunteers.

Winning Team: Just Deserts, Pack Memorial Library
Highest Fundraisers: The ‘NUTty Bees, Chestnut/Corner Kitchen
Second Highest Fundraisers: Much Ado About Sofra, Rezaz
Best Team Costume: Just Deserts, Pack Memorial Library

A huge thank you to all the teams that participated this year!

Asheville Citizen-Times
Chai Pani
Diadasias of WWC – Warren Wilson College
Just Deserts – Pack Memorial Library
Much Ado About Sofra – Rezaz
The ‘NUTty Bees – Chestnut/Corner Kitchen
Taming of the Rhu – Rhubarb
SEO & Juliet – JB Media
Simply Macbest – Kendra Castle
The Spell Casters – Calvin Allen
Three Blind Mice – Katherine Cross
Tragically Malicious – Malaprop’s Book Store
UNC Bulldogs – UNCA Alumni
The Wise Fools – Soomo Learning

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Mi Historia: Latinos Today in Western North Carolina

mi historia
mi historia

Sueños is the name of the mural created by El Centro of Henderson County youth in 2003. It shows the beauty of the Latino culture in the United States. Photo courtesy of El Centro.

Join the Literacy Council for the opening reception of the “Mi Historia: Latinos Today in Western North Carolina” exhibit on Monday, April 24th at 5:30 pm. All volunteers, tutors, students, and community members are welcome to participate in the event as we offer a glimpse into the important stories of the local immigrant population.  Light hors d’oeuvres, beer, and wine will be provided. 

What is the exhibit about?

This stunning collection of personal testimony and imagery covers everything from why individuals left their home countries to the realities of day-to-day life in the United States. You can expect to learn more about how Latinos have contributed to the state economy, navigated identity conflicts, overcome language barriers, and shared important aspects of culture, such as religion, food, holidays, and art. 

Can’t make opening night?

This exhibit is on loan from the Center for Diversity Education at UNC Asheville and will be available for viewing during regular business hours through the end of May. If you have an extra 30 minutes, stop by the Literacy Council for a self-guided tour of the display. Activity guides will also available to help facilitate reflection.

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Join the Literacy Council Team in 2017/18

successes-2014-june2
successes-2014-june2Are you looking for the opportunity to make a difference? The Literacy Council has an exciting opportunity to join our team for a year! Apply today to become the Literacy Council’s next Recruitment and Awareness Coordinator through AmeriCorps.
 

Position Description

Join AmeriCorps and “get things done”! Become a NC LiteracyCorps member at the Literacy Council of Buncombe County and improve literacy and English language skills in our community.

NC LiteracyCorps members provide literacy tutoring to youth and adults while building program capacity through volunteer tutor recruitment and management. The LiteracyCorps member working with the Literacy Council of Buncombe County will have the opportunity to:

  • provide direct service tutoring,
  • recruit and orient volunteers,
  • recruit and support students,
  • develop and enhance community partnerships,
  • conduct visibility campaigns,
  • manage a book gifting program, and
  • participate in national days of service.

The Literacy Council’s NC LiteracyCorps member will begin in August 2017 and complete their service year in July 2018. Over the course of the year, the member will become an integral part of the Literacy Council’s full-time team, providing 1,700 hours of service.

The application period begins now and closes May 10.

AmeriCorps LogoBenefits to the Member

NC LiteracyCorps members receive a living allowance of up to $12,630 and qualify for limited health insurance reimbursements. Upon completion of requirements, they are eligible to receive an educational award of $5,815. NC LiteracyCorps members receive training in volunteer management, literacy issues, tutoring strategies, diversity, and leadership skills. The member placed with the Literacy Council will also have a professional development stipend to participate in conferences and seminars throughout the service year.

Qualifications

To serve with the NC LiteracyCorps, the member must:

  • be at least 17 years old
  • have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • successfully pass statewide and national criminal background checks
  • be a U.S. Citizen, National, or Legal Permanent Resident of the United States

Preferred qualifications are:

  • a deep commitment to providing educational opportunities to economically disadvantaged adults and youth and/or those who are from other cultures
  • excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to work effectively with staff, volunteers, and members of the community
  • outstanding written and oral communication skills
  • a working knowledge of office technology including Microsoft Office suites
  • ability to work independently and collaboratively
  • creative, strategic thinker with excellent organizational skills and ability to track deadlines
  • available to work occasional evenings

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Two Calls to Make This Week in Support of Literacy Council Operations

AmeriCorps Logo

Call #1: Support AmeriCorps

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County has hosted four AmeriCorps members through the NC LiteracyCorps. These four members have:

  • AmeriCorps LogoContributed over 60,000 hours to the Literacy Council’s programs
  • Tutored 11 ESOL, Adult Education, and Augustine Project students
  • Oriented over 450 new volunteer tutors
  • Updated our website (twice!)
  • Managed our social media accounts
  • Launched and managed Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
  • Taught early literacy workshops for 75 families

We hope that anyone who appreciates this worthwhile program will contact Congress and ask them to protect the federal investment in our national service programs like AmeriCorps. This nonpartisan program means so much to our tutors, students and community. Call or contact your congressional representatives online. Click here for a resource to make it easy for you.

Call #2: Oppose the Repeal of the “Johnson Amendment”

The “Johnson Amendment,” in place since 1954, lays out the ground rules that help insulate 501(c)(3) organizations from partisan politics. The law provides that charitable nonprofits:

  • Tutor and Adult Education studentcan’t endorse or oppose candidates for office;
  • can’t coordinate their activities with candidates, political parties, or PACs; and
  • must refrain from making political campaign contributions. 

“Eliminating the law would mean that individual 501(c)(3) nonprofits could come to be regarded as Democratic charities or Republican charities instead of the nonpartisan problem solvers they are,” said David Heinen from the NC Center for Nonprofits. “…this would diminish the public’s overall trust in the nonprofit sector and consequently would limit nonprofits’ effectiveness in carrying out their mission-related programs and activities. The law also ensures that donors’ charitable contributions are used for the charitable, religious, and educational purposes for which they are intended rather than being diverted to political parties or candidates.” Click here to read more from the NC Center for Nonprofits.

Please consider calling your congressional representatives and ask them to protect our nation’s nonprofits by preserving current federal tax law protections that prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from endorsing, opposing, or contributing to political candidates.

Update 3/31/17: The Literacy Council of Buncombe County joined other nonprofits across the nation in signing on to a Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship. Read it by clicking here.

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Spellbound Children’s Bookshop Event with author Marcus Sedgwick to Benefit the Literacy Council

Marcus Sedgwick event poster

Marcus Sedgwick event posterTickets are on sale now: Spellbound Children’s Bookshop presents internationally award-winning author Marcus Segdwick on the publication day of Saint Death, his newest novel for young adults. This special event benefits the Literacy Council of Buncombe County and will take place at Twisted Laurel in downtown Asheville on Tuesday April 25th at 5:30pm. 

Guests are asked to arrive at 5:30 to eat and mingle. Marcus will be speaking from 6:00 to approximately 7:00 and will sign books directly afterward. The event will be emceed by fellow young adult author Allan Wolf.

Each $45 ticket includes appetizers and a non-alcoholic beverage plus a copy of Saint Death to be signed by the author. Event details and online ticket sales at www.spellboundbookshop.com. (Direct link to order page is http://bit.ly/MSLCOBC.)

Sedgwick’s unflinching narrative is timely and guaranteed to incite discussion, if not debate.”– Booklist, starred review

About the author

Marcus Sedgwick was born and raised in East Kent in the South-east of England. He now lives in the French Alps. Alongside a 16 year career in publishing he established himself as a widely-admired writer of Young Adult fiction; he is the winner of many prizes, most notably the Michael L. Printz Award for 2014, for his novel Midwinterblood. Marcus has also received two Printz Honors, for Revolver in 2011 and The Ghosts of Heaven in 2016, giving him the most citations to date for this prize. His books have been shortlisted for over forty other awards, including the Carnegie Medal (six times), the Edgar Allan Poe Award (twice) and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (four times).

About the book

Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick
US hardcover edition available April 25, 2017

A propulsive, compelling, and unsparing novel set in the grimly violent world of the human and drug trade on the US-Mexican border. On the outskirts of Juarez, Arturo scrapes together a living working odd jobs and staying out of sight. But his friend Faustino is in trouble: he’s stolen money from the narcos to smuggle his girlfriend and her baby into the US, and needs Arturo’s help to get it back. To help his friend, Arturo must face the remorseless world of drug and human traffickers that surrounds him, and contend with a murky past. Hovering over his story is the unsparing divinity Santa Muerte, Saint Death–and the relentless economic and social inequalities that haunt the border between Mexico and its rich northern neighbor. Crafted with poetry and cinematic pace and narrated with cold fury, Saint Death is a provocative tour de force from three-time Printz Award honoree Marcus Sedgwick.

 

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