Speaking of Reading

Our very own Julie Brunson, Program Director, and Lara Major, Board Vice Chair, Class Sponsor, and Volunteer, are featured in a brand new video podcast called Speaking of Reading.

Speaking of Reading shares and promotes the benefits of reading to young children from infancy. Each video will share practical tips to engage young readers, ways to incorporate learning into everyday activities, and age-appropriate books to start reading to your children.

Reading fluency is one of the markers used to evaluate the likelihood of a child graduating from high school. If a child is not reading a basic level by the 3rd grade, they are 6-times more likely to not graduate.

Julie stated “I am excited to be a part of this amazing program and share the knowledge I have acquired in the classroom and through raising my three kids.”

All the videos will be posted at https://quidnepress.org/speaking-of-reading with new ones going live weekly.


8th Annual Tee Off for Children’s Literacy Golf Tournament is a Success

Golfers teed up at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club on May 9th in a tournament to benefit All Ages Read Together (AART). The tournament was the inspiration of AART board member Peter Knapp, who remarked, “Eight years ago we decided to have a golf tournament and, now, it has become an annual tradition. This year we raised over $15,000 for AART and we are grateful to everyone who participated for making it such a huge success.”

AART thanks all the 2019 sponsors, with specific recognition for Michael Capretti and Capretti Land, our exclusive Green Jacket sponsor, and Championship sponsors, Pactolus Private Wealth Management, 100WomenStrong, and The Peter Knapp Realty Group. These sponsorships provide the foundation for this golf tournament and drive golf revenue. AART’s Board Chair, Tamar Datan, noted, “We are so grateful to the devoted sponsors, players, and organizers of this very special event. Together, they have helped us raise funding to contribute towards one of our school year classes!”

This funding is critical as AART is the only organization that fills the gap for children who do not qualify for publicly funded programs, like Head Start, and whose families cannot afford private preschool. These children would fall behind in the current education system without AART’s help. One in five children in Northern Virginia begins kindergarten every year without any preschool exposure, leaving them an average of 20 months behind their peers.

Mark your calendars for another signature fundraiser for AART, the annual AART Horseshoe Hoedown. This year’s hoedown is on Saturday, October 26th and will include BBQ, live music and dancing, mechanical bull rides, horseshoe and corn hole tournaments, many artisan vendors, and children’s activities such as a bounce house and pumpkin decorating.

Local Dignitaries Share Their Love of Reading at Kick-off Event for the All Ages Read Together Read-A-Thon

All Ages Read Together (AART) kicked off the 2019 AART Read-A-Thon at Cascades Library on Thursday, February 14 with Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall, Supervisor Suzanne Volpe, and Supervisor Koran Saines as well as Loudoun County Library Director Chang Liu. Area leaders read to children who attend the Cascades Library AART class.

The Read-A-Thon is designed to raise funds for AART, which is dedicated to preparing young children for success in school by teaching them the skills they will need in kindergarten and beyond while cultivating an early love of reading and learning. AART fills the gap in the community by providing these classes to children who do not qualify for publicly funded programs yet come from low-income working families. There were 874 children who began kindergarten this school year in Loudoun County without any preschool experience. These children are approximately 20 months behind their peers. In our region, a family of four that earns $70,000 or less qualifies for affordable housing yet they do not all qualify for publicly funded preschool. AART has served hundreds of children in Loudoun and Fairfax counties since its inception in 2007.

Chair Phyllis Randall spearheaded a book drive with 50 faith leaders to coincide with the Read-A-Thon to collect books and monetary donations for AART classes. AART Executive Director, Michelle Sullivan said, “AART appreciates this outpouring of support and is so grateful for the impact it will directly have on the children.”

AART Nominated by NOVA Chamber of Commerce for Nonprofit of the Year

AART is proud to have been chosen by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce as an Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards nominee in the nonprofit category. The Northern Virginia Chamber’s Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards honor individuals, businesses and non-profits for above-and-beyond business leadership, employee engagement, and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
AART’s management staff attended the award ceremony on June 13th.

“We are honored to have our work recognized and be nominated for this prestigious #CorpCitizenshipAwards.”

– Michelle Sullivan, Executive Director


Tory Burch Foundation Invites AART ED to First Summit

Executive Director Michelle Sullivan with Tory Burch

The Tory Burch Foundation invited AART Executive Director, Michelle Sullivan, to attend The Embrace Ambition Summit on Tuesday, April 24th at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center.  Many nonprofit executives gathered with women entrepreneurs from all over the world to discuss the idea of doing well while doing good.  “To say it was a transformative experience would be an understatement!  It was a global think tank for a day of the most innovative minds to discuss the way we think about the entrepreneurial business community’s relationship with nonprofits” Sullivan pronounced.

Among the speakers were Virginia Delegate Danica Roem, Congressman Joe Kennedy III, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.  Other power players included author Margaret Atwood, actress Julianna Margulies, journalist Katie Couric, and Olympians Linsey Vonn and Ibtihaj Muhammad.  Tory Burch took the opportunity to chat with as many of the attendees as possible and took an interest in the nonprofits and their myriad contributions to the communities they serve.  Laurie Fabiano, president of the Tory Burch Foundation, told Michelle the intent of the Summit was to begin conversations and make connections across the entrepreneurial community as well as the nonprofit sector with the hope that the conversations would continue long after the Summit ended.

Actress Zoey Deutch told the audience that she can feel overwhelmed with what is going on in the world. She said it almost stymies her and sometimes she doesn’t know how to contribute to society. Deutch recounted Gloria Steinem’s powerful statement, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.”  The nonprofit community knows this all too well!