AKA Sorority Sponsors Event for Children in Inglewood

On November 19, 2011, 35-40 children and their parents enjoyed a day filled with arts and crafts, storytelling, singing songs, puppetry, and creating artwork for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  This annual event, hosted by Theta Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. at the Inglewood Public Library, concluded with Sorority members reading books to the children, children reading books to the group, and families selecting three books, donated by Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California, to take home to keep for their home library.  Remaining books were donated to the “Hillsides” facility in Pasadena, CA, an agency that shelters foster children and children whose parents are incarcerated.

Even E-Book fans Want Real Books for their Kids

“When you read a book, a proper kid’s book, it engages all the senses. It’s teaching them to turn the page properly. You get the smell of paper, the touch.”  ~Alexandra Tyler

“€œI know I’m a Luddite on this, but there’€™s something very personal about a book and not one of one thousand files on an iPad, something that’s connected and emotional, something I grew up with and that I want them to grow up with,”€  ~Ari Wallach

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Alva Sachs Visits Voorhis School

Aspiring student writers at Voorhis Elementary School recently enjoyed a visit from children’s book author and RIFSoCal Board member, Alva Sachs.  Sachs, the author of On Your Mark Get Set Go, Circus Fever and I’€™m 5, read her stories to the primary students and shared how a book develops from a creative idea into its final published copy.  She then led a writing session with the fourth and fifth graders, explaining story boards, fun titles, colorful and interesting writing and the importance of writing a story with a hook to peak the readers’ interest.
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Sheri Fink promotes RIFSoCal

Sheri Fink, one of our favorite writers and author of The little Rose, recently had the privilege of talking with Tameri Etherton about Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California (RIFSoCal) and how others can help out. You can read the interview on her blog:

May We Present: Osvaldo Lopez

{image_1}RIFSoCal is ever so lucky and ever so proud to welcome - and thank - our new volunteer extraordinaire, Osvaldo Lopez. Osvaldo is one of those rare people who turn their beliefs into action.  And fortunately for RIFSoCal, Osvaldo’s passion parallels our organizational passion to create a world where children have books because literacy is of prime importance. In Osvaldo’s words… “I grew up in a household where no one went to college. Even with community college being an option, my siblings did not pursue a career and were not strong role models for me. Having raised two older children, my parents had few resources to provide for me and they paid little attention to my literacy and education needs. But I wanted to be different.  Despite my family’s expectations and lack of resources, I still want to attend a University. I graduated from Schurr High School and my goal is to be admitted as a transfer to UC Berkeley, one of the world’s top-ranked centers for research and teaching, to establish a career in Sociology. If I am admitted to UC Berkeley, I will be the first in my family to attend a University and pursue a strong career. As a sociologist, I intend to help improve literacy and educational opportunities for children who have a social disadvantage in their community. As a volunteer at RIFSoCal, I feel I have started my career!

Osvaldo is now part of the RIFSoCal family! He comes in several times a week and generously shares his ever so refreshing idealism with us. Bravo, Osvaldo! We depend on your generation to make our world a better place.


CHARITABLE LIVING Group Reinvents the Spirit of RIFSoCal’€™s Historic “BOOKS IN THE PARK!”

It’s 1970 in Santa Fe Springs Park.  Imagine children running off to have fun - and finding Mother Goose playing her harp on the lawn!  Then imagine the children’€™s delight when Mother Goose gathered them into a circle, read them a story and encouraged them to choose a wonderful new book to keep as their very own. “€œBooks in the Park” was the creation of Santa Fe Springs Librarian, Ruth Grams -€“ alias Mother Goose - one of RIFSoCal’s founders.{image_5}

It’s 2011 in North Weddington Park in North Hollywood.  Again imagine children running off to have fun -€“ and finding a clown, a balloon artist/twister creating swords, jet packs and almost anything else a child could dream up, a face painter, music, kids doing the limbo, story time, and a bookmark creation zone.

All to raise awareness and funds for Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California!  {image_3}

Books in the Park’s joyful tradition remained as vibrant and colorful as its 1970 inception thanks to Charitable Living’s belief in the magic of bringing books and children together.{image_1}

What a beautiful way to spend an afternoon - listening to the sound of children giggling as they delighted in the park’s wonderful surprises!


A huge thank you to Charitable Living members and the amazingly talented artists who volunteered their time to ensure the success of €œBooks in the Park€:

Charitable Living members, Kendra Castleberry, Erin Cahill, Jackie Geary Haase, John Curtis, Tymberlee Hill, Todd Sherry, Jen Berthelot, Aimee Parker, Yaani King and Amir Talai

Sean Edwards, balloon artist;

Emily Stuver, face painter

Celedon Wood, dance teacher from Twinkle Toes Dance;

Gigi The Clown; 818-231-7676

Elle Febbo, a Powerful Force for GOOD

Elle's New Children's Book

Elle's New Children's Book

Award Winning Author, Elle Febbo

Award Winning Author, Elle Febbo

{image_2} “There is no greater sense of Spiritual Accomplishment than to live and work from the heart with purpose, and embrace life’s highest potential.  Never let anyone stop you from living your mission”

~Elle Febbo

Elle Febbo is fast becoming a RIFSoCal hero! 

As a best selling author, globally published journalist, speaker, and feminine leader, Elle encourages parents to read to their children to bond, to inspire an enjoyment of reading, to promote good self esteem, to improve critical thinking and problem solving skills, to increase vocabulary, and to enhance positive social behavior.

Her message to “€œPick a book-ANY BOOK!” parallels what we do every day -€“ let children choose a new book to keep as their very own!  Her message that creating an age appropriate at home library is a gift offering shelf after shelf of imagination parallels our mission to promote literacy and motivate children to read by building at-home libraries for underserved children. 

{image_1} “What Love Is: A to Z,” Elle’s best selling children’€™s book, is a colorful and inspiring journey through the ABC’€™s of Love. Produced to serve as a tool for creating lasting, positive change for our children, it is also a resource to support and strengthen non- profit organizations - like RIFSoCal! - as they serve and support our youth.
Please visit Elle’s website for more information regarding her speaking engagements and books.

Macy’s Raises $4.9 Million for Reading Is Fundamental

WASHINGTON, August 11, 2011: For the third year in a row, more than 1 million Macy’s customers sprung into action to support Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit. From June 24 - July 31, Macy’€™s customers donated $3 through the Be Book Smart campaign to provide a book for a child, and Macy’€™s donated 100 percent of every $3 to RIF for a total donation of $4.9 million. The organizations partnered with the goal of giving 1 million books to children.

“RIF is overwhelmed by the generous support of Macy’€™s and the millions of customers who shopped during the Be Book Smart campaign”€, said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF.”€œAs we look to our future, we are pleased to call Macy’s our partner and appreciate their ongoing commitment to RIF and our efforts to improve children’s literacy in the United States.”

Earlier this year, federal funding for RIF was eliminated from the budget which accounts for 80 percent of the organization’s overall operating budget. Macy’€™s annual campaign offered a timely opportunity to help increase private funding for the organization while giving back to local communities. 

“€œGiving back to local communities is a cornerstone of our business,” said Martine Reardon, executive vice president of marketing for Macy’€™s. “Reading Is Fundamental has a long history of inspiring children to read and achieve by providing books to own at home. Macy’€™s passionately supports children’€™s literacy, and we thank our customers for adding their generous contribution to the RIF organization.”

Since 2004, RIF’€™s partnership with Macy’€™s has raised nearly $21 million to support children’€™s literacy through customer-supported fundraising campaigns, in-store events, and volunteer activities. Last year, Macy’€™s supported RIF programs that provided 3.6 million free books to more than 1.2 million children and donated 350 multicultural book collections to RIF programs throughout the country.

About Macy’s
Macy’s, the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at more than 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Macy’s stores and offer distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy’s is known for such epic events as Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks(R) and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade(R), as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Building on a 150-year tradition, Macy’s helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities that make a difference in the lives of our customers.

About RIF
Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF’€™s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provided 4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources last year.