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The Literacy Network

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The Literacy Network is improving the lives of locals by promoting literacy and teaching valuable life lessons through their Walk Tall program. Read on for more.

Silverton Paideia Academy third grade teacher Benita Mudd, third-grader and grand daughter of Holly McClain, Aniyah Lumpkin, and Winners Walk Tall character coach Holly McClain enjoy the weekly lesson with their class.
Silverton Paideia Academy third grade teacher Benita Mudd, third-grader Aniyah Lumpkin, and Winners Walk Tall character coach Holly McClain enjoy the weekly lesson with their class.

Cincy Chic: What is the Literacy Network’s Winners Walk Tall Program?
Kimberly Whitton, Communications Coordinator at the Literacy Network: Winners Walk Tall provides trained character coaches to students in grades K-6 to instill positive traits and teach important life lessons. Character coaches give their time to discuss topics associated with manners, ethics and life skills. Volunteers come from the community and actively visit classrooms to inspire students and encourage them to succeed. WWT lessons are also utilized in our one-on-one Winners Read tutoring program to help educate each child while teaching manners and leadership qualities.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the program?
Whitton: In 1992, Bob Mauk established Winners Walk Tall to develop today’s youth into tomorrow’s winners. Mr. Mauk’s daughter was a teacher and he volunteered to help them with their studies and came to the conclusion that they also needed help with manners. It is amazing to think in 23 years how many children have benefited from this program that teaches fundamental values and life-changing skills.

Cincy Chic: Who are the winners from the 2015 Winners Walk Tall program?
Whitton: Over 170 character coaches served thousands of “Winners” throughout Greater Cincinnati this year. One student was in a body cast at the beginning of the year and stood up during their character coaching session in the middle of the year, walked around the room and proudly said, “Look, I am walking tall.” And he certainly was.

Cincy Chic: Are there any other upcoming programs for the Literacy Network’s Winners Walk Tall program?
Whitton: The majority of our Winners Walk Tall program is during the school year in the classroom. There are about 70 staff members of the Boys and Girls Clubs throughout Greater Cincinnati who we have trained in Winners Walk Tall. They will utilize the program throughout their summer program as well.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for the Literacy Network?
Whitton: Our partnerships and programs continue to grow in each program at the Literacy Network. For example, we have built many new partnerships and grown existing partnerships this year including: Boys and Girls Club, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Mount Saint Joseph University, and many other local schools and businesses. Upcoming fundraising events include the Spelling Bee for Literacy in September, working at the Taste of Cincinnati in May and the Forekids Golf Outing (which we will benefit from) in September.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Whitton: For more information on programs, volunteering and giving opportunities, call (513) 621-READ or visit the Literacy Network at Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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From Louis Vuitton and Prada to Michael Kors and Coach, these designer bags join fashionable forces to not only improve your wardrobe but also improve literacy across the community thanks to one special upcoming event. Keep reading to bag up all the details.

022315FEATURELiteracy isn’t a luxury everyone enjoys. That’s why the Literacy Network hosts their annual Handbags for Hope event: so you can invest in a new bag, while also investing in the community.

This year’s event will be the 4th annual Handbags for Hope, and it’s slated for February 26 at the Cincinnati Club downtown.

According to the Literacy Network’s Director of Communications and Grant Writer Kim Raterman McDermott, the idea for the event is to welcome those from across the Tri-State to celebrate literacy in the city in a one-of-a-kind way.

The night features a number of activities including live and silent auctions of handbags, raffles, cocktails, dinner and entertainment. “The Literacy Network hosts the event to raise awareness and funding for our children and adult literacy programs,” explains Raterman McDermott.

The Literacy Network’s President, Kathy A. Ciarla, started Handbags for Hope because she wanted to raise awareness and funds for the programs in order to honor the students who are working hard to improve literacy and serve as an inspiration for those around them.

“We wanted to bring the community together in a unique way and create a one-of-a-kind evening designed to inspire guests and treat them to a great night out to help improve literacy,” Ciarla says.

Raterman McDermott also says that the event is also about reminding people that without the ability to read, many things in life are challenging. It’s also about empowering Handbags for Hope attendees to make a difference and help grow the programs that serve those in need.

“The Cincinnati Club and their staff are extremely helpful and supportive of the Literacy Network staff in helping make this event a success,” says Raterman McDermott.

In addition to the Cincinnati Club, there is a huge team that is behind the event. Ally Kraemer, multimedia journalist at WCPO Channel 9 News, will be this year’s Mistress of Ceremonies, Big Dave, Chelsea and Jason statt from the B105 Mornign Show promote and attend the event and Maggie Beckmeyer from Auctions by Maggie will host the live auction.

Then there’s event co-chairs Josh and Melissa Gerth who have worked for the last year to support the Literacy Network as well as Sharon Johnson and Jarmall Sweeten who will be honored for their work in the Adult Literacy Program.

Event sponsors for Handbags for Hope include Tri-County Mall, Raymond James, Charitable Words Scholars, Holy Grail-Banks, Zaring Family Foundation, Merrill Lynch, Busam Nissan, Ulmer & Berne LLP, Keating Muething & Klekamp, Scripps Foundation, Empower Media Marketing, Fifth Third Bank, Diamonds Rock, Read Aloud, David Powell-Bill Gerth (Partner), Ken and Cathy Feldmann, Graydon Head, Mercy Health: Dr. Robert Cranley, Mansion Hill Custom Floors, Kroger, Macy’s, Spark People, Prestige, Jeff and Lee Rose, Auctions by Maggie, M. Hopple & Co., The Cobb Group, Mary Meinhardt, Katy Meinhardt, Fox 19 News, B105, Saks Fifth Avenue and Josh and Melissa Gerth.

“All of our amazing event sponsors, prize sponsors, board members, volunteers and supporters continue to make the event a success and help it grow so we can serve more adults and children throughout the city who struggle with literacy,” says Raterman McDermott.

A limited number of tickets for Handbags for Hope are still available. You can purchase them by calling the Literacy Network at 513-621-7323.

To learn more about the event and the Literacy Network, visit or “like” them on Facebook.