Events RAR-MA Blog

Dinner with an Author 2019

On May 8, 2019 33 authors, 37 sponsors and 300 attendees gathered at the Mandarin Oriental for the 13th annual gala to raise money for Raising A Reader MA.

The authors!

Over $240,000 was raised to support Raising A Reader MA’s efforts to end the cycle of low literacy in high need communities across the state of Massachusetts.

Guests joined us for a cocktail hour with a silent auction, followed by a lively program with emcee David Wade from WBZ-TV Boston. Putting his journalist skills to the test, David Wade conducted impromptu interviews of Ace Atkins, Christopher Castellani and Marianne Leone, who shared their love of reading and why they want to support Raising A Reader MA.

Hank Phillippi Ryan, Tonya Mezrich and Ben Mezrich (authors)
Authors, Dawn Ohanian Tringas and Kimberly Zimmer Aulenback
Olga St. Clair (committee member) and David Wade (emcee)

Guests gathered in the Oriental Ballroom for dinner and the program began. Board members and committee chairs Daryl Andrews and Jonathan Slawsby welcomed guests and Executive Director, Christine Ward shared more about Raising A Reader MA’s impact.

Board members and committee chairs, Daryl Andrews and Jonathan Slawsby

“Early literacy is one of the most profound social justice issues of our time. Reading with a young child is the most effective intervention — and so powerfully transformative.”

– Christine Ward, Executive Director

The highlight of the night was the speech and storytime by Raising A Reader MA’s own, Maria Mombeleur. She currently serves the community of Brockton where she grew up and had the chance to share her incredible story with attendees.

“When I first learned about the role with Raising A Reader MA, I was surprised to discover that research showed that the single most significant factor influencing a child’s lifelong achievement is being regularly read to by their parent and adult caregivers before starting kindergarten…This resonated with me because I was part of this demographic – not to the fault of anyone, but simply because my family, my community – did not have access to this information. This profound discovery is what motivates me to work with the passion that I do every day!”

– Maria Mombeleur

Maria then demonstrated the dialogic reading strategies that we teach families everyday, welcoming her family up on stage. Everyone in the room learned something about interactive reading.

Both of Maria’s children are enrolled in early childhood centers that are recipients of the Red Book Bag rotation.
David Wade interviewing Marianne Leone

Thank you to everyone who made the event such a success. We could not do our important work without very donor, sponsor, volunteer and attendee.

If you are interested in being involved in next year’s gala (committee member, sponsor, attendee), please contact [email protected].