VIPS 2021 Donor Newsletter

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Spring 2021

Volunteers In Public Schools Donor Newsletter

“There is always light. Only if we are brave enough to see it. There is always light. Only if we are brave enough to be it.” ― Amanda Gorman


for your support through COVID-19. As we prepared for last school year, we had no idea the world would come to a halt due to COVID-19. Students were turned away from attending school in person and left with interacting with their teachers and fellow classmates through a computer screen.

Everything changed. One thing did not. Thanks to our supporters and donors, VIPS much needed services to students continued without interruption. Our volunteers immediately went to work, lending helping hands wherever our teachers and students needed us. VIPS community partner Atmos Entergy came on board early to serve, as we dispatched volunteers to the food distributions sites to hand out boxed meals to families. ExxonMobil stepped in to donate new, age-appropriate books to accompany the boxed meals, so families could

Our volunteers immediately went to work, lending helping hands wherever our teachers and students needed us.

enjoy reading together while at home. Our studentpartners from Southern and LSU created fun videos to ease the fears of children who found it difficult to adjust to our new way of life. These videos explained the reasons behind our new normal including mask wearing, proper hand washing, and socially distancing. Reading and Math Friend volunteers were eager to begin tutoring their students, so during the summer, they helped us test out the new virtual EveryBody Reads and EveryOne Counts programs. They quickly adapted to using their newly acquired tech skills to connect and engage their students and were able to add virtual math games and books to their tutoring sessions. On top of our transitioning, we had to cancel our fundraisers but again our donors came through by contributing to our mail in campaigns and our Night In events. As we navigate through the unknown, it is good to know we can count on our dedicated supporters to help us serve our most vulnerable citizens, our children.

Why I Give

Follow the Fundamentals

By: Jonathon Richard, VIPS Operations and Development Manager

By: Judy K. Bethly Executive Director the work done. It was not for recognition, it was just simply to support the work. Q: We appreciate that. Do you have any final thoughts that you’d like to share?

AN INTERVIEW WITH RETIRED PRINCIPAL CHERRYL MATTHEWS Q: Mrs. Matthews, describe your work in the EBRP school district. A: I was privileged to work in the school system for 42 years, and it was all a joy. At the end of my career, I served as 504 coordinator, and I enjoyed that as well, because I had a chance to visit schools and speak with teachers and people who were actually providing accommodations for our boys and girls. In all of my roles, I witnessed firsthand the importance of VIPS in schools: any support that can be given to teachers and students and their families is extremely important. Q: As a principal, you obviously were aware of VIPS’ services. You made your first contribution to VIPS in 2013 in memory of your husband. Why did you choose VIPS to honor his memory? A: Well, my husband and I shared a commitment to education. We both come from families of educators. I knew

that my husband was committed to that, and I wanted to continue that legacy by making a significant contribution. I thought VIPS was a good vehicle, because I’ve seen the work that you all do by bringing in the volunteers to work with our students. I was very impressed with your Building A Legacy program that contributes books to boys and girls at the elementary level. One thing I noticed as a principal was there were homes even today that still did not have age-appropriate books available for children. So, the fact that you are making that contribution was extremely valuable to our children and their families. Q: Building A Legacy is one of our most rewarding annual campaigns. In 2016, you joined our Giving Society, which is a select group of our most generous donors. So, what inspired you to increase your giving? A: Mainly my goal was to increase the influence of my gift, and I know that dollars make a difference. VIPS is a volunteer organization, so I wanted to do what I could to support your efforts and to get

A: I want to emphasize the value of education in today’s world; particularly reading. We know that reading is the key. Reading, and reading comprehension run the gamut across all subject areas – it’s in math, it’s in science, it’s in social studies, and it’s in our daily lives. In order to prepare our children for a life in today’s world, the foundation of reading is essential. Without it, our students are unable to navigate the world as we know it.


One of the lessons learned from COVID-19 is the importance of fundamentals. When our circle of life drastically shrinks, instead of seeking solutions outside of our circle, we begin to better appreciate those things held within the circle. As VIPS readies for the start of a new school year, we are examining our programs, recognizing the elements that have successfully guided us through 40 years. EveryBody Reads introduces students to various forms of literature. Reading Friends bring books, often on or slightly below the child’s reading level to build confidence; or more advanced to develop new reading strategies. The books vary in subject matter: aligned with the student’s interests or something unfamiliar to pique a new interest. It is through books that children are transported to places beyond the ordinary. Most importantly, our Reading Friends gift books to their assigned students allowing them to treasure their favorite books for a lifetime. Reading aloud in a friendly environment cultivates positive reading practices, increases motivation, and turns reading from a chore into an enjoyment. This is how most of us learned to read, listening to others read and being given the opportunity to read with a caring adult. We cherish those moments, like many of our students with their Reading Friends. One little boy said to his Reading Friend after their session ended, “I wish we could do this every day” We’re going to seek ways to improve our programs, but we’re going to stick with the fundamentals. Thank you for joining us on the journey.


(July 1, 2020 - March 24, 2021)

GIVING SOCIETY Frederic & Susan Billings David Boneno Henry & Monica Bradsher John & Carolyn Carnahan Jenola Duke Willie C. Johnson Debbie Lamb Cherryl Matthews Mary Jo Mayfield Josephine W. Nixon Bill & Mary Lou Potter John Turner and Jerry Fischer Will & Jean Wilcox Lela Mae Wilkes DONORS $500-$999 DONORS $500-$999 Anonymous Floyd & Frances Falcon Gerald & Devera Goss Cordell & Ava Haymon Mary Ann Sternberg DONORS $100-$499 Dr. & Mrs. William Arceneaux Edward & Priscilla Ashworth David & Margaret Bach Gregory & Pamela Baldwin Marvin & Susan Borgmeyer Robert Callander Frank Coates, Jr. Catherine Coates Beverly Coates Donald & Glenelle Cottrill Ms. Nancy Crawford Ms. Doreen Cronrath William & Janet Daly The Honorable Louis Daniel Robert S. Carney & Bonnie Jeanne Davis Aaron & Megan Sheehan-Dean Andy & Colette Dean Dr. Donna Dooley Dr. Herbert Dyer James & Martha Epperson Gaines & Mary Foster

DONORS $100-$499

DONORS $1 - $99

Judy Foust Matthew & Melissa Juneau George Kurz Randy Lanctot Ms. Debbie Lapeyrouse Marybeth Lima Richard Lipsey Tracy Portle-MacArthur Mr. Jason MacMorran Mr. Frank D. McArthur, II W. Shelby & Molly McKenzie Ms. Phyllis McLaurin Robyn Merrick Ms. Teresa Meyer Pam Morgan James & Patricia Moroney Rev. Dr. Mary W. Moss Ms. Roberta Phillabaum Randall & Alcia Plaisance Helen Pope Joyce Jenne & Terry Goddard Rehn Mary Elizabeth Richardson Jeannette & Mike Rolfsen Mr. L. Cary Saurage, II Jan Shoemaker Frank Simoneaux Carol & Alfred Speer Charles & Mary Steele Terrie & Edmund Sterling Ms. Elizabeth “Boo” Thomas Tip & Bev Tipton Daniel & Elizabeth Walsh

I bought stickers for my Reading Friend. She never mentioned how much she liked them because she is very shy, but last week I saw the stickers on her notebooks and backpack!

Kimberly Bardell John & Sissy Bateman Mrs. Judy Bethly Elizabeth Bordelon Mrs. Dovie Brady Patricia & John Branch John & Elizabeth Courville Rory Denicola Dr. Donna Dooley Gresdna Doty & James Traynham Delores Dyer Ms. Eleanor Elder Ms. Vicki Ferstel Frank Foil Mr. Michael Fontenot Mike Gaudet Fred & Linda Grace Ann S. Guissinger & Malcolm Robinson Marilyn Hammond Ms. Cati Hardy Ms. Charlene Heaton Charles and Terry Henry Ferdous Intaj Glenn & Stacey Kidder Ms. Christine Lipsey Sylvia Martinez Terry & Ann D. Miller Mr. William H. Morgan John & Ruth Pace Charlyn Y. Payne Ms. Ami S. Percy Raymond Prince Ms. Jill Rehn Cameron Roberson Eileen Russo MJ Schneider Mr. David Shaler Latoria Shaw Kaia Simmons Ms. Susan Riley Smith Mrs. Marilyn Stokes Ms. Anne L. Tillman Nick & Rachel Totaro Lisa Wall Susan & John Wilder Charlene Wilson Donald & Marcia Zuber

IN HONOR OF *Janet Affolter Myla & Thomas Phillips *Monica Bradsher Elva Evans Robert & Nancy Ginn Gwen Redding Barbara Sims *Carolyn Carnahan Ms. Sue Heflin *Susan Eaton Ms. Elva Evans *Willie Johnson Fr. Jerry Martin *Angela Elizabeth Kopynec Henken Elizabeth Powers & John Kopynec *Mary Lou Potter Ms. Elva Evans *Dr. Roscoe Reddix, Sr. Roslyn Terrell *Lela Mae Wilkes Patricia Faxon Ms. Linda Lightfoot Ms. Anne L. Tillman *indicates honoree

IN MEMORY OF *Conrad Adkins Ms. Christine Lipsey *Eilleen Armstrong Betty Armstrong *Pearl Belcher Mrs. Jenola Duke *Charlotte Cantwell Mr. Buster Cantwell *Wayne Davis Betty Berry Cindy & Bradley Black John & Carolyn Caranahan Ms. Doreen Cronrath Jay & Cathy Dardenne Meredith Davis Mrs. Jenola Duke Mr. Michael Fontenot Mrs. Pam Morgan Mary Lou & Bill Potter Prairieville Creek Garden Club Sue Rainer Daniel & Robin Reed Marvin & Willa Roof Ms. Joy Stoneham Martha & Peter Wood Mike Zobrist

*Myron Falk Roger & Libby Jones *George Allen Haile Missy Crews *Gloria Hall John & Carolyn Caranahan *Clyde Johnson Carolyn & Charles Stutts *Marilyn Crilly Lee Alicia Robertson Heather Roemer *Paul Marks Mrs. Mary Joseph *Jethro Matthews Mrs. Cherryl Matthews *Sally Pelton James Pelton *Mary Perry Ms. Elizabeth M. Perry *Lt. Col. Roosevelt Peters Mrs. Janifer Peters *Georgia Reine, MD Sue Bernxie *Susannah Stacey Richard Robert & Janice Evans *Susan Turner Ms. Patricia Odom *Ray Warren Mrs. Albertha Warren

CORPORATE DONORS Albemarle Foundation Aramark AT&T Louisiana Atmos Energy Corp Baton Rouge General BXS Insurance CareSouth Medical and Dental Cox Communications ExxonMobil Hancock Whitney Bank

Louisiana Lottery Corporation LSU Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society LSU Pi Beta Phi LSU Student Christian Medical Association Rotary Club of Baton Rouge Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips Wanderlust by Abby

In 2021 your support helped 150 VIPS Virtual Volunteers tutor 180 Students.

My favorite moment was when my Reading Friend said " I saw the letter A on TV!" We went over the letter A the previous visit.

Together We Win Join us as we come back stronger. Sign up to volunteer today! VolunteersInPublicSchools


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VIPS Mardi Gras 2021 classroom storytime readings