Each month, Read for a Cause recognizes a deserving Literacy Champion: someone who shares their passion for books with others. Whether a grandmother, teacher, babysitter, friend, volunteer, or therapist, these individuals embody Read for a Cause's mission of reading more and doing good. We are proud to honor you!
Name: Sara Wolosiansky
Hometown: Green, Ohio
Nominator: Jillian Boone
What Makes Her a Literacy Champion:
It was important that I honor my mom, Sara Wolosiansky, as Read for a Cause's first Literacy Champion. From the time I could misspell words and draw stick figures, she has encouraged me to read, write, and create. And as a speech therapist, her hard work and generous heart at Community Speech Services has made an impact on thousands of children and adults. Finally, she never, ever, denies her grandchildren 'one more story!' despite exasperated it's-way-past-bedtime sighs from those grandchildren's parents.
Love you, Mom.
Name: Natalie Tannehill
Hometown: Akron, Ohio
Nominator: Michele Whitmer
What Makes Her a Literacy Champion: As a high school language arts teacher, Natalie balances a rigorous course schedule, teaching classes such as AP Language and Composition, Contemporary English, and Journalism. In Natalie's view, "encouraging young people to read helps them develop a view of the world beyond what they see and experience each day. Reading inspires imaginations, develops ideas, broadens our horizons, and creates an enthusiasm for life. As a teacher, I’m blessed to have the opportunity to connect young people with books, and to watch them develop what hopefully becomes a lifelong love of reading."
Name: Noreen Rohda
Hometown: Powell, Ohio
Nominator: Kara Gray
What Makes Her a Literacy Champion: As a preschool interventionist specialist for the special needs preschool program with Olentangy Local Schools, Noreen's love for a good story is infectious. As her nominator wrote, "You can see the joy of reading in her students faces every day." For Noreen, childhood literacy sets children up for long-term success: "Encouraging young people to read is important to me because if they have a love for reading it will become a life long love. It will also make all the other subjects easier as they move through school."
Name: Emily Kridel
Nominator: BBBS Staff
Camp Location: South Bloomingville, Ohio
What Makes Her a Literacy Champion: As the Education Director at Camp Oty'Okwa, Emily has shared her love for reading with countless campers, knowing that books can be a way for children to connect with themselves and others.
"The three pillars of Camp Oty'Okwa are Esteem, Empathy, and Example. I think reading helps kids grow in all these areas; they can be empowered to access information for themselves, they can learn more about the experiences of others, and they can see examples of all kinds of people in books. . . . I want to our campers, and all kids, learn to love reading because I know it will expand their world and improve their lives."
Founder: Trudy Debolt
Location: Mt. Vernon, Ohio
What Makes WAGS a Literacy Champion:
WAGS (Working Dog Awareness Group) is an organization that is transforming students and shelter dogs one book at a time. Founded by Trudy Debolt, a 6th grade English teacher, WAGS aims to honor the military dogs of the Vietnam War while helping shelter dogs become more adoptable. Every Saturday, WAGS students visit the Knox County Animal Shelter to read to its K9 residents.
WAGS fulfills its motto, “Keeping hope alive” by teaching students that through reading and spending time with a shelter animal, they save a life and foster hope for a better future.
Name: Dr. Philip TK Daniel
Title: Professor Emeritus of Educational Administration, The Ohio State University
What Makes Dr. Daniel a Literacy Champion: Mid-way through his 48th year of teaching, Dr. Daniel has dedicated nearly half a century to educating the next generation of educators. His commitment to his students and the pursuit of education reform has earned him countless accolades, including OSU's prestigious Distinguished Service Award and a spot within the College of Education and Human Ecology's Hall of Fame.
But the true source of Dr. Daniel's motivation is not an award; it is the opportunity to effect meaningful change in his students and their work. "The quality and understanding of good teachers will impact the quality and understanding of their students," he explained. "Not just what they learn, but what they value."
Name: Betsey Hines
Hometown: Upper Arlington, Ohio
Nominator: HFF Staff
What Makes Her a Literacy Champion:
As a long-time volunteer reading mentor at the Homeless Families Foundation, Betsey Hines has built mutual relationships based on trust, value, and love with her mentees. But Betsey believes she has learned more from the children than they have learned from her. “[T]he real learning has been what [my mentees] have taught me in our weekly talks. I see what systemic racism is. I have seen why poverty and education by zip code can lead to a future of frustration with a world that does not treat all equally,” she explains. That understanding has fueled Betsey’s commitment to be the change she wants to see in the world: “I will continue to volunteer, not for what I can do for others, but because of what doing for others has brought to my life.”
Know of someone deserving of recognition? Nominating someone is easy!
Just send us a message! Include (1) Your Name; (2) Your Nominee's Name; (3) Your Nominee's Hometown; and (4) a few reasons why your Nominee deserves to be featured as a Literacy Champion!