When Cheri Ryan called the Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program office to learn about their literacy programs, the staff never imagined they would be the recipient of a donation from the Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust in the amount of $200,000.
The trust was established by Mrs. Wallace, aka “Aunt Bette,” to enrich the lives of those from her former community. Aunt Bette spent her formative years playing and exploring around her neighborhood in Alderwood Manor, and she graduated from Edmonds High School in 1942. Between 1942-1949, she worked as a civilian employee for the United States Army in Seattle, Alaska, and Tokyo, Japan.
Later in life, Aunt Bette managed several travel agencies, allowing her to travel the world until her retirement in the late 1990s. Aunt Bette had a zest for life, traveling and learning. She wanted others to experience the joys of learning and exploring.
Cheri tells us that “Aunt Bette gave myself, my husband Pat, and my brother Kevin the humbling opportunity to make charitable donations from her trust on her behalf after her passing. When we learned of Page Ahead it touched a chord with us as we grew up with books in our homes and reading was an important part of our childhood and still is in our adulthood. We were lucky, we had books growing up, our daughters had books, books that took us on adventures, taught us about people and places unknown to us, books that let us use our imagination all while giving us great pleasure. We know that the books your program provides to youngsters will benefit them by taking them on adventures, introducing them to things unknown, and allow them to gain knowledge and reading skills as they grow in their education.”
With Aunt Bette’s gift, Page Ahead will be able to provide services to nearly 900 children from low-income homes in the Edmonds School District for the next six years. Because of Aunt Bette’s gift, children who can’t afford to have books of their own will now be able to begin building their home libraries and reading skills. “Reading is the skill upon which all others are based.”, said Susan Dibble, Page Ahead’s Executive Director. “This gift will transform the educational lives of these children, and will have a huge impact on their future success.”
Guided by the fact that literacy is essential to lifelong success, Page Ahead provides new books and develops reading activities that empower at-risk children. Page Ahead is the leading provider of children’s books and literacy services in Washington State, serving more than 850,000 children with 3 million new books since 1990.