Power Lunch

Power Lunch connects elementary school students with caring volunteers to read together once a week during the students’ lunch hour. No curriculum, no lesson plans. Just spending quality time together, reading books they enjoy. Through this connection with a caring adult, students build essential skills that will help them succeed both in and out of the classroom.  

But Power Lunch is bigger than just the student. Everybody wins with Power Lunch!  


Students Win By:

  • Developing literacy and reading comprehension skills
  • Being exposed to new ideas and opportunities through their volunteers
  • Building a positive relationship with a caring adult, which helps develop self-confidence and other critical social-emotional skills
  • Improving listening, communication, and other interpersonal skills

Schools Win By:

  • Seeing improvements in their students’ literacy and social-emotional skills
  • Building connections with local organizations
  • Getting support for classroom learning without bearing any additional administrative burden or cost

Volunteers Win By:

  • Enjoying a meaningful way to give back to a student in need
  • Making a positive impact in a student’s life
  • Building connections with their own communities
  • Being able to take advantage of EWDC social and networking activities

Partner Organizations Win By:

  • Seeing increased employee engagement, productivity, job satisfaction, and retention
  • Making connections that could develop into future business and workforce opportunities
  • Partners receive recognition for their commitment to the community and for giving back to students in need


StoryTime hosts small shared group readings between students and community leaders, authors, and other invited guests to help expose children to new ideas and opportunities.

Guest readers include: DC Attorney General, Karl Racine, Jamie Lee Curtis, Congressman John Lewis, Jarrett Krosoczka, Daniel Barash, At-Large Councilmember, Robert White and many more.

Check out our latest StoryTime featuring At-Large Councilmember, Robert White HERE.


The Book Project

The Book Project extends the power of shared reading from school to home by giving away FREE books to Power Lunch students to build their personal home libraries. Because access to books in the home is critical to successful reading development.

It also gives FREE books to other students and teachers to help support general shared reading activities. In school year 2018-2019, The Book Project distributed more than 4,000 books to students.

Books given away through The Book Project are directly sourced from EWDC's monthly books drives.

Interested in supporting The Book Project? Email:


Shared Reading Library

Just because our students are currently learning from home doesn’t mean they can’t still benefit from an EWDC read-aloud experience.

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That is why we’ve launched a new virtual Shared Reading Library, bringing read-alouds directly into students’ homes. This set of curated videos features EWDC volunteers and supporters reading books and modeling shared reading discussions, offering a convenient option for families who want additional reading-based activities and supports from a trusted partner. It also provides a critical reading lifeline for many families while schools, libraries, and bookstores remain closed due to the current public health emergency. All videos are reviewed by EWDC staff and then posted on our YouTube page each Wednesday!

Contributing to the Shared Reading Library: 

EWDC provides our volunteer storytellers guidance on selecting books, recording at home, and structuring their read alouds. Mentors and supporters then submit videos of themselves reading children's books aloud. Click here to learn how to create & submit your own video!

Pen Pals

Power Lunch is more than just a mentor and student reading together; it is about building a consistent, supportive relationship that sets students up for success. That’s why we want to ensure our students can still lean on and learn from their mentors while they are at home

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Power Lunch Pen Pals helps keep our reading pairs connected via letters, emails, pictures, and more. They can talk about what they are reading, how they are feeling, or whatever else they so choose. Our students and mentors might not be able to share a book in person, but they can keep their connection strong - and that is critically important during times like this!

Power Lunch mentors and families who would like to

participate can review guidelines here.