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The Bookworm

Today’s news from Everybody Wins! Iowa

When you read with a child, everybody wins!

The First Word

Karen Ligas, executive director

Spring is just around the corner, and Everybody Wins! Iowa is getting ready to usher it in with some fun activities and book giveaways. 

From now through March 3, treat yourself and EWI by ordering a dozen original glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts by clicking the button below (For each dozen you buy through this special promotion we receive $7.50):

Click here for doughnuts

On March 23, please join us between 4 and 7 pm for our closing Kinship in the Neighborhood event at Kinship Brewing Company in Waukee. And finally, be sure to visit us and take part in our activity at the Des Moines Book Festival, March 25 from 9 am to 6 pm, at Capital Square in downtown Des Moines. For more information on these events or to volunteer with us at the Des Moines Book Festival, please see Picture This, below.

EWI employees, board members, and supporters at the Kinship event held on Jan 21

EWI info and activities table at Kinship Brewing

Please note that we still have many students to be matched and we can continue to match mentors with students through spring break. A mentoring match that begins in March will provide six weeks of one-to-one reading with a student before summer break. For more information, contact Anna Sunstrom at


Karen Ligas and Jordan Mains represented EWI on February 2 at the State Capitol for Volunteer Iowa Day and met with Senator Nate Boulton and Senator Izaah Knox.

As winter comes to an end our students are earning books by completing their READO sheets, and they’ll also each take home a book for their home libraries at the start of spring break. Ever wonder how our students feel about Power Read and the books they receive? Here’s what we’ve overheard lately:

“This book ended...is there a second? I just have to know what happens!” -Kari

“I rated that book one million billion out of 10!” -Lilly

“I love getting books I can take home and read to my little sister!” -Jonah

Reading Room

The Bailey School Kids is a book series first published in 1990. There are 80 titles, and as of 2021 they are being adapted into graphic novels for grades 2-5. Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots was our first giveaway of the year, and our students loved it so much that we will be giving another, Frankenstein Doesn't Plant Petunias, as our last.

Director Details

Ken Chester, Jr., Marketing Committee member

Ken Chester, Jr., has been on the EWI Board of Directors for less than a year but he’s already got big plans and ideas to ensure the long-term success of Power Read. “Growth and diversity go hand in hand, and as we grow our program, we should be sure to improve our diversity by reaching out to people of color,” Ken says. He’s also got a plan for strengthening the organization’s financial stability: “I think end-of-life planning is an unexplored opportunity for us,” he says. “Millions, if not trillions, of dollars are donated as generous people want to leave a legacy and do some good for the world. Creating recurring, sustainable funding is a challenge, and this could take a lot of pressure off our organization.” Ken joined the EWI Board last May and shares his joy of reading at George Washington Carver Community School in Des Moines.

Mentor Moment

Bernice Howes, EWI mentor (pictured with her grandson)

Bernice Howes first connected with EWI when she volunteered in the office, assembling packets of books and worksheets for students. Then the retired special education teacher learned about Power Read. “This sounded like something I did in my job,” she says, and promptly signed up to mentor. “I enjoy reading with students of all ages because they all bring something. It’s just fun because it’s always new and fresh,” she says. Something Bernice appreciates in Power Read is flexibility. “A lot of times the students just want to tell you their stories,” she says, and sometimes they “get a little squiggly” and a word search or writing or drawing activity is the answer. Ultimately, she says, the EWI team is the key to success: “We’re working with people who are wonderful. They’re all here for the same thing.” 

Picture This

Krispy Kreme Digital Dozens is supporting EWI from now through March 3. Each time you purchase a dozen original glazed doughnuts through this link we earn $7.50. The link and promotional code are valid at participating Krispy Kreme stores nationwide. 

Get in on the March Madness fun with us on March 23 as we wrap up our 2023 first quarter partnership with Kinship Brewing Company at 255 NW Sunrise Dr. in Waukee. Take in some hoops, grab a bite or a beer, complete a book bracket, and vote for your favorites for a chance to win Kinship swag and gift cards at our final Kinship at the Neighborhood promotion. Every time you visit between now and the end of March you have an opportunity to donate to EWI!

Festival season is fast approaching, and the Des Moines Book Festival is near and dear to our hearts. We’ll be on hand to chat and recruit mentors, and we’ll have a fun activity to test your literary literacy! The festival is March 25 from 9-6 at Capital Square, 400 Locust St., in downtown Des Moines. Want to volunteer with us? Please sign up here.  

Follow us on social media (links at the top and bottom of this email), visit our website, and look for updates in future newsletters for more details on these and future events.

Super Sponsors

The cost of supporting one student is $500. Please click here to sponsor a student today. We are thankful for the support of all our program sponsors.

Our recent January donors are:




United Way of Central Iowa (Power Read monthly grant)

$500.00 - Kathryn Osmann

$250.00 - Tyler Feld

$104.12 - Todd Millang

$500.00 - Sue Sorge

$210.40 - Valerie Gramlich

$100.00 - GreenState Credit Union

Jen Willis, who founded Restoring Hope, recently donated several new diverse picture books. Book drives are a great way to support our program.

In Memoriam

Mary Alice Hill (1/28/59-1/26/23) was a long-time Power Read mentor. She started reading with students at our King Power Read program five years ago, and most recently read at the Downtown School. We received a donation in her honor with the following note: "I knew Mary Alice through the King Elementary Everybody Wins Iowa reading program. We only knew each other through that program and only for a couple of years, but she was such a lovely person. Wanted to remember her at Everybody Wins Iowa." She will be missed.

Make A Difference

Want to donate? Click here.

Interested in mentoring, joining the board, or serving on a committee? Click here.

Have an idea or suggestion for Power Read, Everybody Wins! Iowa, or The Bookworm? Click here.

By The Book

Everybody Wins! Iowa is a central Iowa non-profit organization whose mission is to increase children’s success in school and life through one-to-one reading and mentoring experiences with caring volunteers.

Our signature program is Power Read, in which students read with the same volunteer mentor every week, usually over lunch. Please view our homepage on our website for current data on mentors, students, and books distributed.

Everybody Wins! Iowa


(515) 277-7590 | info@everybodywinsiowa.org

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