Portland, February 21st, 2014. It was an erudite crowd 500 strong at the SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) gala. Young readers from Oregon Children’s Theater Elisha, Ethan and Grace posed with Portland Timbers mascot Timber Joey before reading The SMART Story to gala attendees. SMART pairs caring adult volunteers with PreK through third-grade children to provide one-on-one reading support and books to keep. (photo credit, Andie Petkus)
The SMART gala featured a cocktail hour, dinner, live auction and “Make a Difference” paddle raise at the Portland Art Museum. The event chair was Michele Daterman. The money raised will support 250 SMART programs across Oregon.
An Oregon where every child can read and is empowered to succeed.
SMART engages community volunteers to read one-on-one with PreK through third-grade children who need reading support. Participating children also receive new books each month to keep and read with their families.
In 1991, a group of concerned business leaders led by Gov. Neil Goldschmidt came together to address the troublesome reality that Oregon’s children were routinely reading below grade level. SMART’s unique model was developed, blending early childhood reading support, adult mentorship and community engagement to positively impact literacy outcomes.
The program launched in 1992 in eight schools in two cities, serving 585 children.
Over the years, SMART has steadily grown to become the state’s largest volunteer-driven nonprofit organization devoted to children’s literacy.
Since SMART’s inception, we have served more than 152,000 children and given away nearly 2 million books. More than 103,000 volunteers have logged 3 million hours reading with SMART children across the state.