Laurie Rich

Page Ahead is pleased to present the 2022 Sarajane Beal Award for Volunteer Excellence to Laurie Rich.

Stacey Lane (left), Laurie Rich, and Lisa Ceniceros (right)

Laurie began volunteering for Page Ahead in 2019 and quickly became a valued member of Page Ahead’s volunteer team. Laurie is a retired elementary school teacher from the Tukwila School District and has been a dedicated Story Time volunteer, reading to children both at Thorndyke Elementary and at our summer Story Times at High Point and the Ballard Locks. This past spring, she also worked as a Book Up Summer book fair helper for several of our schools in Seattle and Tukwila. Additionally, Laurie has become an essential and priceless member of the Book Oasis team.

Laurie is responsible for repairing all 19 of the Book Oases, and she also restocks five of the Book Oases in West Seattle. This past year, she has coordinated 17 different repair jobs, including everything from fixing a broken latch to installing brand-new doors. In fact, just today, she installed a new door at our Book Oasis up on Greenwood! Laurie has also spent many hours keeping her five Oases stocked with books, free from trash, and in tip-top shape for the community; she has performed 54 different restocks in this past year!

Laurie’s passion for Page Ahead and the Book Oasis project contributes to our continued success of providing books to so many children. Thank you, Laurie! You truly make a difference at Page Ahead!

See previous winners of this award here.

Books: a protective factor during tough times

Many of us have gladly retreated into a good book during stressful periods in our lives. But you might not know just how powerful books can be.

A group of researchers in Australia recently explored the factors related to children’s resilience in the face of abuse, neglect, or trauma. They discovered that children who were read to regularly at home had more than three times the odds of showing resilience than children who were not read to at home.

And we’ve seen positive impacts like that here in Washington, too. Access to books through our Book Up Summer program has functioned as a protective factor during the pandemic, which has knocked back students at all levels. Seattle low-income fourth graders who had participated in Book Up Summer in their K–2 years have slid back nearly four points less in their reading scores than their statewide low-income peers (a drop of 9.7 points for Seattle Book Up Summer students vs. 13.3 points for statewide low-income students).

As the authors of the Australian study say in their conclusion, “Children can be resilient, but need society’s assistance.” And they need books, too!