August 2023 newsletter

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We appreciate our volunteers!

Page Ahead depends on our many amazing volunteers in order to reach more than 22,000 young readers across the state with brand-new books and reading resources. Our volunteers sort, shelve, and put stickers in books, maintain and restock Book Oases, read to kids in our Story Time program, serve on committees and the board of directors, help make our Book Up Summer book fairs happen, decorate bookmarks, and so much more. In all, more than 270 people donated over 2,707 hours to giving kids the chance to read by supporting Page Ahead over the last year. We are so grateful to our volunteers!

Page Ahead volunteers celebrate their contributions at the beautiful Dunn Gardens

And an extra-special thank you to the winner of the 2023  Sarajane Beal Award for Volunteer Excellence, Karol Swenson!

Karol has served on our program committee for several years, has been a Story Time reader to multiple classrooms, and has supported Page Ahead’s A Taste for Reading luncheon as a volunteer several times. Karol has also helped train fellow Story Time volunteers, done site visits for our Story Leaders preschools across the state, and was a BIG help during our Book Up Summer book fairs this year, serving as a Book Fair Expert and helping lead volunteers from Amazon while they worked with kids to pick their free books. Page Ahead is extremely fortunate that Karol has devoted so much time to our work—and so generously shared her incredible professional experiences around early childhood education with us.
Thank you, Karol!

Lisa Ceniceros, volunteer of the year Karol Swenson, and Stacey Lane
Karol reading to students at Dunlap Elementary, spring 2019.

A staff change at Page Ahead

Page Ahead bids a fond farewell to development manager Rebecca Brinbury, who is moving on to her next opportunity as an editor at Amazon.

“I’m so grateful to have spent more than four years working along the amazing folks here at Page Ahead doing such gratifying work,” says Rebecca. “You won’t find an organization or group of people better suited for the important work of making sure every kid gets a chance to grow into a reader. I look forward to staying connected as a supporter and volunteer!”

Thanks, Rebecca, and best of luck in your next chapter!


Page Ahead’s impact this year

During the 2022–23 program year, Page Ahead:

  • Provided 26,389 kids in need with 296,855 new books
  • Partnered with 203 preschools, elementary schools and other community organizations
  • Stocked 19 Little Free Libraries with more than 6,000 new children’s books

Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with us—it takes many people to make this work possible.


RBIs for Literacy

PACCAR is widely known for their trucks—but did you know their passion for education is as big as their big wheelers?

Over the past 17 years, PACCAR has partnered with the Seattle Mariners through the RBIs for Literacy program—putting books in the hands of kids who need them most. The innovative partnership has raised enough to purchase hundreds of thousands of new books for kids who really need them! And PACCAR employees have collected an additional 40,000 new books through workplace book drives—which are starting up again soon. Thank you, PACCAR, for supporting kids and reading!

Community book drive at the Mariners

Mariners Care and PACCAR are hosting a book drive at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday, August 29 to benefit Page Ahead. Heading to the game? Stop by to see us and make a donation at the following locations:

Home Plate and Left Field gates

Terrace Club entrance

Parking Plaza

Above the ‘Pen

Or you can text BOOKS to 707070

All donations will benefit Page Ahead and give kids in need the chance to read.

Go Mariners! 

Karol Swenson

Page Ahead is pleased to present the 2023 Sarajane Beal Award for Volunteer Excellence to Karol Swenson.

Lisa Ceniceros, volunteer of the year Karol Swenson, and Stacey Lane

Karol began volunteering for Page Ahead in January of 2016. In that time, Karol has:

  • Served on our Program Committee for several years (helping to create reading guides for teachers and families)
  • She has been a Story Time volunteer reader to several classrooms
  • Karol has also volunteered at our annual benefit luncheon several times and has helped us back at the office afterwards as well

Last September, Karol helped train our 20 new Story Time volunteers at a special Saturday training session. She has also done this several times over the years. The new volunteers benefited from Karol’s experience to learn how to deliver fun and engaging Story Times to their classes. In January, Karol rejoined the Program Committee and immediately jumped in to support the many site visits at our Story Leaders schools. She visited 11 different classrooms in all, traveling as far north as Everson and as far south as Winlock. These site visits help provide important feedback to help us better support the teachers and students participating in the Story Leaders program.

Karol’s biggest volunteer effort this year, came in supporting Page Ahead’s spring book fairs for Book Up Summer. She helped with book fair set-ups, as a book fair helper, and most importantly as a Book Fair Expert at our Seattle schools. As a Book Fair Expert, Karol was responsible for managing the many Amazon volunteers who helped as personal shoppers at each school location. Karol was the Page Ahead representative who helped work with our school coordinators during their book fairs, to make sure that it was a fun and successful event for students and volunteers. In all, Karol went to 8 different schools, for 19 different shifts, and volunteering over 54 hours for Book Up Summer. Her support of Book Up Summer helped over 1,600 students with selecting their 12 new books for summer reading. That’s a HUGE impact!

Karols’s passion for Page Ahead and her many hours of service to all of our programs, helps us to support so many schools and children with books and the joy of reading.

Thank you, Karol! You truly make a difference at Page Ahead!

See previous winners of this award here.

Previous winners of the Sarajane Beal Award for Volunteer Excellence

2023: Karol Swenson
2022: Laurie Rich
2021: Kim Ferse
2020: Angie Drzewiecki
2019: Rion Dudley
2018: Diana Konaszewski Ray
2017: Sophie Lalazarian-Truman
2016: María Teresa Vincens
2013: Barbara Towle
2012: Mark Best
2011: Deb West
2010: Lorie Day
2009: Sanjeev Narang
2008: Brooke Graham Doyle
2007: Elaine Denslow
2006: Jessica Young
2005: Mary Jo Starck
2004: Elizabeth Ruskauff
2003: Calvin Haavig
2002: Meena Cheng
2001: Richard Wright