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Volunteers read to students to increase literacy

In celebration of 20 years of service within the community, Everybody Wins! Atlanta kicked off the year with a major goal in mind: distribute 20,000 books across the region in an effort to increase literacy and encourage lifelong learning in children one book at a time.

The nonprofit was founded by Arthur Tannenbaum and his wife Phyllis, who read aloud to their children instilling a lifelong love of reading. Serving the students of Hope-Hill Elementary School, the Tannenbaums visited a neighborhood school once a week during lunchtime to read with a child, and make a positive impact. This launched the Power Lunch Program.

Volunteers from neighboring companies and the community were paired with weekly during lunch time with students in first through fifth grade who were struggling to read. Weekly the pairs met to read, learn new vocabulary words and help with comprehension. Soon students were learning to love reading, gaining self-confidence and become better readers.

Now, the Power Lunch program includes 10 schools and 40 companies that pair employees with first through fifth grade students identified as reading below grade level. The pairs meet for 30 minutes, once a week, during the student’s lunchtime to read and foster a mentoring relationship.

“Each student not only benefits from weekly one-on-one reading experiences, but also receives three new age-appropriate books to help build their home library and increase family reading time. The program has grown from one school to 10 schools in metro Atlanta. Each week, over local companies send 800 volunteers into elementary schools to help 700 children read better,”said Executive Director Tiffany Tolbert.

To support improving literacy and reach its 20,000-book goals, Everybody Wins! Atlanta is always seeking volunteers to help its cause. People can volunteer two to four times monthly to read with a child in a one of its partner schools, coordinate a book drive to collect children’s books, make a donation to support the organization or participate in an upcoming fundraiser to help provide programming and books to children.

“The impact on both the student and the mentor cannot be overstated. In my experience, the students look forward to the time they get to spend one-on-one with a mentor, reading a book of their choosing,” said volunteer John R. Gibson an associate at Duane Morris LLP. “As a reader, I know I am doing my part to help students in my community foster a love of reading that will hopefully carry on through adulthood.”

Who’s doing good?Each Tuesday, we write about charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To suggest an event for us to cover, contact Devika Rao at

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