The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) recently hosted the 2022 Community Update. After two years of virtual formatting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year saw over 200 guests live and in person. The Community Update Breakfast (CUB) was an opportunity to put SCGLR’s approach to movement building on full display. This approach includes engaging people, businesses, nonprofits, government, and the media in helping to create an environment where children from the Suncoast thrive. The CUB also offered the opportunity to share the accomplishments of the last 12 months, learn about the current work in the Suncoast region, and connect with community members.

Those in attendance were not only treated to breakfast and coffee, but they also heard from SCGLR Director Beth Duda, viewed highlights from SCGLR lead partners: Community Foundation of Sarasota County, United Way of Charlotte County, and United Way Suncoast, and heard from the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Managing Director, Ralph Smith.

To see what was buzzing on social media during the Community Update Breakfast, click here.

Although each aspect of the morning was superb, two superstars stood out. Naivy and Janeli Griffith from Ashton Elementary. The Griffith twins participate in SCGLR’s THIS BOOK IS COOL! program and were invited to create a TBIC! webisode of their own.

As one walked into the Community Update Breakfast, their eyes may have been drawn to the centerpieces adorning each table. The centerpieces, flowers crafted by Beth Duda, represented much more than just room decor. Beth said it best in her remarks.

“The colorful flowers have been crafted out of squares of paper….The eight pieces of paper become substantial and beautiful when combined, folded, and nestled together. And the shape the pieces of paper create is remarkable because it is pliable and flexible, changing and evolving depending on which way it is turned. These centerpieces were created with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in mind. Each person, partner organization, project, and initiative join together to create something multidimensional, greater than the sum of its parts. And once we’re joined together, we create something both strong and beautiful, able to evolve and change according to the needs of the children and families in our communities. And each of you with your desire to help the children and families in our region is a light illuminating our shared efforts.”

The Community Update Breakfast ended with an incredibly joyous and special moment. To highlight the importance, dedication, and uniqueness of each individual present, all in attendance were invited to participate in a sing-along of “This Little Light of Mine” led by musician Preston Boyd. This sing-along was a great representation of SCGLR. Many different voices and styles joined together to have their voices heard. It is in this way, a multitude of forces joining together, that SCGLR can continue making a difference in the Suncoast and beyond.

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