Everybody Wins! DC News & Events

In Their Own Words: Article from Power Lunch Partner HHS

By EW!DC / Published: 12/17/2010

Connections Newsletter
Office of Inspector General
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services


Everyone has no doubt heard that Senator Edward Kennedy took time out of his busy Hill schedule
to read to students as a volunteer every week beginning in 1997. Several Office of Inspector
General employees volunteer as mentors in the same "Power Lunch" program through
EverybodyWins!DC - When Adults Read With Children.

 

The group's slogan: "One mentor. One child. One book at a time." For the past school year, 14 OIG employees spent an hour every week reading and talking with their assigned "mentee" at Amidon- Bowen Elementary School. During that time, we were among the 170 Amidon-Bowen mentors who worked with 135 students and read nearly 2,000 books!

 

Everybody Wins!DC is a 15-year-old nonprofit organization devoted to promoting children's literacy. It pairs elementary
students in low-income schools with reading mentors "to instill in the students a love of learning through shared reading experiences
with caring individuals." OIG has been involved almost since the program started.


Everybody Wins!DC is proud that NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams did a segment on the program as part of its "Making a
Difference" feature: http://everybodywins.org/?/weblog/2_national_network/


But does the program really work? Definitely, according to a Department of Education study that found Everybody Wins! has a
proven impact on students' lives. Participating students who started out reading below grade level became enthusiastic about books. The result: they improved both their academic performance and their classroom behavior.  In the United States, the typical middle-class child enters first grade with 1,000 to 1,700 hours of picture book reading time. However, a low-income child, like most of those in DC schools, averages just 25 hours.  Volunteers feel that they gain at least as much as the students they work with.  "I've participated in Everybody Wins!DC for 13 years, reading with three different students," said one OIG mentor. "By being mentors rather than tutors in a more structured program, we can concentrate on helping children develop a love of the world through the written word. For the mentors, it's immensely rewarding when we find a book or a subject that truly engages a child's interest. I cannot recommend the program highly enough."


Another OIG mentor agrees, "EverybodyWins!DC is a wonderful program that I highly recommend. For OIG headquarters staff, it's just a quick walk up 4th Street from the Cohen Building to Amidon-Bowen School. Every week I look forward to an hour of reading with a student who always appreciates (or perhaps pretends to appreciate!) his time reading with me."

 

Volunteer with the Power Lunch program – you’ll be glad you did!
[Editor's Note: If you are in Washington, DC and are interested in participating in Everybody
Wins!DC click on this link: http://www.everybodywinsdc.org.]



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Testimonials
"Seeing her become more confident and her love of reading increase has been such a joy to watch."
"It's mostly fun to read and watch her become such a confident reader and learn to love reading as much as I do. She is one of my best friends."
"When an adult helps a child, it tells that child how special they are. We send a message to the child- you are important to me- that is powerful and undeniable."
"It's a fantastic program, and I think the mentors get as much, if not more, than the student. You meet wonderful kids and have lots of fun."
"When I read, I learn and grow-- you know, like Jack and the Beanstalk kind of growing and that's really big!"
"I wish Everybody Wins was everyday!"