FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GWINNETT COUNTY, GA. – On October 2, Preface held its Second Annual Childhood Literacy Benefit Gala, presented by Earth Baby, at the beautiful Hudgens Center for Art & Learning in its home community of Gwinnett County, GA. The Gala was an incredible success – raising over $100,000 in literacy funds and resources to be invested in the next generation – all thanks to the generosity of Preface supporters!
All proceeds further support the Preface mission of promoting Equality Through Education and Early Childhood Literacy.
With temperature checks, active masking policies, and socially responsible health protocols firmly in place, the event was an impactful evening filled with live music, dancing, incredible food and drinks – all while safely celebrating the amazing work of Preface’s educational partners and high school student “Ambassadors.”
Preface's distinguished Guests of Honor for the evening were Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux and Gwinnett County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts.
Both Watts and Bourdeaux gave impactful speeches packed with insights into their inspirations and passions for early childhood education in the community.
“It takes a willingness to ensure that we reach and teach all children as if they had our last name. When we do that, we should be compelled to lead in a different way: to lead, as I’ve often shared, with love, with empathy, with passion. When we teach our children to read, we are actually teaching them to gain access to the world,” said Watts.
Congresswoman Bourdeaux shared similarly powerful views on the importance of community and strong educational supports. Noting that early education is “something that I am deeply committed to and something I am quite passionate about,” Bourdeaux emphasized that, “even with federal funding, it will always take community partners and organizations like Preface, who build local partnerships in our schools and provide resources to our teachers on the front lines to drive down high early childhood literacy deficiencies.... I am proud to continue to collaborate with our education leadership to address these issues and support the preparation of our next generation.”
Following the recognition of Preface’s 2021 Guests of Honor, members of Preface leadership shifted to honoring the year’s Legacy Award recipients: Gwinnett County Assistant Principal Jacqueline Graham and William “Bill” deGolian, the Mayor of the City of Washington, GA.
Hailing from both highly urban and more rural areas of the state of Georgia, both Graham and deGolian spoke at length about the impact that Preface’s customizable, no-cost, and high-impact literacy models had in their own communities during the past year - and how the core principles of the Preface mission can uniquely transcend geographic and demographic divides.
“It was reading that changed the trajectory of my life,” said Graham, as she spoke about growing up as a British student in the United States and Preface’s impact in the diverse community she serves in Gwinnett County. “Being an avid reader allowed me to gain so much knowledge and understanding of other cultures, of other situations.”
As Preface’s Liaison at Hopkins Elementary School, Graham “organized the students, manipulated the schedules, informed the parents, and motivated the students to be a part of this Preface program.”
“I am happy to say that it was a wonderful experience despite COVID,” she continued. “All in all, for us, it was a huge success. All my students ended up reading on or above grade level.”
Speaking to Preface’s impact in less urban areas, as well, were Washington, GA Mayor Bill deGolian and 4 “E” Youth Center Director Roxanne Cobb.
“Washington is a tiny little town - we’re about 5,000 people in a county of about 10,000 people,” noted deGolian. “[Preface’s work] has had a real impact in our little town, maybe even more so than the big metropolitan areas.”
Cobb echoed deGolian’s sentiments, speaking powerfully about the impacts she’s seen on the ground, thanks to the Preface model. “Preface’s [model and efforts] donating… over 100 books of all reading levels to our organization allowed us to magnify our impacts a hundred-fold. 4 ‘E’ tutored over 100 young community children with the books Preface has given, inspiring the children - and some of them even have their favorite books now!”
“The children have become motivated to listen to their tutors, and they have improved their reading levels in school,” Cobb concluded. “I want to thank JT and [his team at Preface] for helping us, because we do need this in Washington.”
Jonathan “JT” Wu, Preface's Founder and Executive Director, wrapped up the evening by giving an inspiring Founder’s Speech to conclude presentations - and celebrating a highly successful mission drive that helped raise over $100,000 in funds and resources to support the next generation.
“It may start with just one high school student and one child, who have discovered a love of reading together,” said Wu, “but pretty soon, those kids are telling their friends, and that spirit of service catches on – expanding and growing and changing young lives across America as these kids become the ripples of hope that can set this next generation up for a future that we can only begin to imagine.”
Preface remains grateful to the generous sponsors who helped make its 2021 Anniversary Benefit Gala such a success - especially 2021 Presenting Sponsor, Earth Baby, the Diamond Sponsors at the Pritchard Foundation, Crystal Sponsors, String and Story and Geoffrey Jiminez, and Platinum Sponsors at Berklich Chiropractic Center.
Additionally, Preface extends a special thank you to its mission and gift partners such as The Hudgens Center for Art & Learning, Biolyte, OSkin MedSpa, iS Clinical, MARA, and Kaplan MD for their immense generosity in creating an incredible evening during these unprecedented times.
Having exceeded its fundraising goals and cemented its position as an effective educational supercharger for communities and educators across the country, Preface looks poised to continue advancing its mission of Equality Through Education and Early Childhood Literacy into 2022 - and beyond.
Thanks to Preface’s innovative and award-winning models, and its growing team of supporters, the future ahead looks truly bright for young students across America.
A link to a video recap of the evening, as well as an exclusive podcast by Business RadioX about the evening are forthcoming.
Founded in 2019, Preface is a public-private philanthropic initiative dedicated to fostering Equality Through Education and early childhood literacy - often with a multilingual twist! Partnering with educators and community leaders, Preface empowers local high schoolers to give back to their communities and bridge opportunity gaps by fostering literacy among young students of all backgrounds. A federally recognized 501(c)(3) organization, Preface is proudly headquartered in Gwinnett County, Georgia and serves communities across America. Learn more at www.PrefaceProject.org.
For further inquiries, contact:
Chief Marketing Officer
External Engagement Liaison
Preface Public Relations