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The 10th Annual Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction was a sold-out event that broke records for both attendance and funds raised!
Ann Patchett, New York Times best selling author, generously donated her time and energy to make this a truly memorable event. She started by with meeting staff and board for pictures, before joining VIP guests at the Top of the Plaza. Each guest that she personally encountered walked away feeling that they had shared a special moment with the author.
Guests enjoyed glasses of Biltmore Wines on the outdoor patio and in the lobby for the silent auction. The auction had a sleek new design this year with the help of volunteers Rebecca Caldwell, Debbie Lampton, and Ceevah Stevenson. This year’s new Buy It Now table, and the option to pay for Buy It Now items on-the-spot, kept the silent auction busy throughout the entire cocktail hour.
Hilarious emcee David Ostergaard had guests in stitches throughout dinner, while sponsor representatives from TD Bank and Biltmore Wines spoke to the history of literacy programs in our community, as well as their importance to our neighbors today. The Literacy Council’s Executive Director, Ashley Lasher, and Board Chair, Anne Bleynat, shared exciting news about the Literacy Council’s student outcome rates (some of the best in the state!) and upcoming expansion of the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program.
Adult Education student Ashley Ramey and her tutor Robbie Coleman, brought the audience to tears as Ashley shared her story, riddled with drug abuse, a lack of education, abusive relationships, and the challenges of single parenthood. With Robbie’s help, Ashley proudly shared that she graduated from a rehabilitation/treatment facility, passed the GED this summer, and has already earned college credits towards her Associate’s Degree in Political Science. Guests flew to their feet in applause.
Ann Patchett gave a warm, often funny, and touching talk. She recounted the story of the nun who “forced” her to learn to read, and who is now a dear friend and fellow troublemaker. Ann shared that reading and writing had brought her more happiness and fulfillment in her life than anything else, and she entreated the audience to do all that they can to support others in their quest to gain literacy and English language skills.