Occasions: Rebecca ’14 on This Weekend’s Read-A-Thon

Rebecca ’14 recently spoke at Morning Meeting about her passion, which also happens to be an issue of particular local importance. First, Rebecca introduced Midge Wilson of the Bay Area Women’s and Children’s Center, which serves the Tenderloin community by focusing “entirely on the needs and issues of low-income families, children and women in this multi-ethnic, inner-city neighborhood.”

Together, Rebecca and Midge introduced the short film “BAWCC: 30 years of Making a Difference” and discussed the upcoming Read-A-Thon, which takes place Saturday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Bay School Blog caught up with Rebecca later for an in-depth look at her involvement with the BAWCC’s cause.

When did you find out about BAWCC and the Read-A-Thon?

“When [Zoe ’12] was a senior here, she was friends with Midge Wilson’s daughter. She made a Morning Meeting announcement about the Read-A-Thon, and I thought, ‘Well, it’s pretty convenient. You go there and do whatever you want: you can do homework, SAT prep or just read for fun. You also get to meet just a bunch of new people and eat delicious food.’ So I thought, ‘Why not?’”

How are you involved with the organization?

I’m a volunteer, I do internships, and I’m spearheading the Read-A-Thon in general and also for The Bay School. Midge was very nice to ask me. … I’ve been with the center since I was in ninth grade, so for three years now.

Why serve the community in this way?

“It’s something I’m really passionate about – being able to help the people of the Tenderloin. There are actually about 4,000 kids in the Tenderloin … And 4,000 kids is a lot for an eight-block radius.”

What’s your favorite thing about working for BAWCC?

“We’re so privileged here, especially at The Bay School, being in this San Francisco community where education and books are so available. It’s really nice seeing what a privilege this is and also being able to see the smile on kids’ faces when you’re really able to give them something that they’ve never seen before. The excitement they get for something we kind of take for granted is really satisfying, and it really motivates you to do more for these kids to be able to tell them, ‘You can do this. You do have the opportunity.’ I think that’s really fun.”

Who participates in the Read-A-Thon?

The first year we had people from six different schools and this past year we had more than 20 [schools participate]. We increased everything by about fourfold last year, so we’re hoping to do that more. We couldn’t have done it without really great supporters.

Tim Johnson helped support it; Dennis Hartzell helped sponsor me. I remember Colin Williams came, too. It’s just a matter of all these passionate people coming together. We’re not just focusing on San Francisco as a location, we’re also focusing on the Bay Area. We have a lot of people from Marin coming; we have people from Tam, MA, Daly City and Oakland. We have people all the way from Palo Alto. We’re hoping to expand.

What makes the event special?

I think it’s a really accessible event. I think what’s really unique about it is not only the [organization’s story] but also that it’s a serious issue that’s right in our city. You don’t have to run 10 miles; you don’t have to raise a billion dollars. You come, you get a few sponsors ($10 or over), and you just read. You’re able to do what you love. If you’re social and you’re not that big of a reader you can still talk. We have a lot of icebreakers going on – a lot of social events.

You meet new people, you eat great food. It’s super accessible, and everyone should come.

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