Monday, July 7, 2014

Newport Beach Library - Gift of Literacy Luncheon

Gift of Literacy Fundraising Luncheon
Literally Speaking: Jul/Aug 2014

Over 260 people attended the 7th annual Gift of Literacy luncheon held at the Radisson Hotel in Newport Beach on June 6, 2014. This year’s keynote speaker, Lisa See, attracted the event’s biggest crowd ever raising $20,000 to support literacy in our community. Ms. See was debuting her newly- released book, China Dolls, and each guest received a copy thanks to the generous donation of Platinum Sponsor Richard Hearn of the STARCARE Foundation.

Attendees perused the many silent auction and raffle items before being seated and welcomed by Newport/ Mesa ProLiteracy (NMPL) Advisory Board President Jason Brady.  He introduced Newport Beach Public Library Services Director Tim Hetherton, who said a few words to the assembled guests before turning the microphone over to Advisory Board Vice President, Kate Besch. Ms. Besch presented a plaque of appreciation to Richard Hearn of STARCARE for his support of adult literacy.

Tutor Katie Northup addressed the gathering and spoke of her experience in the NMPL program. She was followed by her learner, Marnalee Lopez, the 2013 recipient of the Rochelle Hoffman Memorial Award, a recognition given to one outstanding program learner each year.  Ms. Lopez gave a speech that was full of both emotion and humor and thanked Katie and NMPL for changing her life and that of her family ... forever.

After lunch was served and several raffle items awarded, Ms. See approached the stage and spoke to a roomful of literacy supporters and ardent Lisa See fans. Ms. See kept the room engaged with her humor and charisma while discussing her new book, research about its characters and what inspires her stories. At the conclusion of her talk, Ms. See was presented with a gift of a very special pen which was embellished with famous quotes, and then made her way out to sign additional copies of her book.

It was an extremely successful fundraiser for Newport/Mesa ProLiteracy and the increased community awareness brings additional support and volunteers to the Literacy Program.

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