Editors Note: This month the Herald is featuring a series of stories on the Holiday Wish Lists of Mid-Columbia nonprofits and how you can help. Charities can still email firstname.lastname@example.org with attention to Holiday Wish List, include name, contact information and a few specific needs.
What started as a reading and writing program serving 70 students at West Richland's Enterprise Middle School seven years ago will involve more than 1,000 students at 28 schools in eight Mid-Columbia school districts this year.
Cavalcade of Authors aims to motivate teenagers to read by having them meet the authors of the books they love.
"Every year it's a leap of faith," said organizer and Enterprise librarian Michelle Lane of the program's fundraising efforts.
Donations and grants pay for authors to visit the Tri-Cities to talk about their books but also to lead writing seminars for selected students.
"This is the exact thing kids need to get motivated (to read)," Lane said.
Organizers work to keep costs down. Columbia Basin College provides space for the annual writing seminar in March free of charge and the group seeks authors from the Northwest and the West to keep travel costs down.
This year's event has an annual budget of $28,000, of which about $21,000 has been collected, Lane said.
Still, it costs money to lodge and feed the authors. Many require an average fee of $1,500 to visit the area, Lane said.
This year's authors are Patrick Carman, Robin Benway, Ally Condie, Josh Berk, Kendare Blake, S.A. Bodeen, Cinda Williams, Rose Cooper, Matt de la Peña, Kevin Emerson, Matthew Kirby, Robin LaFeveres, Barry Lyga, Marissa Meyer, Andrew Smith and Kat Zhang.
Organizers also provide prizes to students who meet reading goals and try to cover the admission costs for needy students to attend the annual seminar.
The nonprofit's wish list includes the following: coverage of travel expenses and transportation for the 16 authors coming for the seminar in March, donations to pay for an author to visit a school, seminar registration fees for needy schools, T-shirts and prizes for students meeting reading goals and attending the seminar.
Those interested in making a donation or volunteering with the nonprofit can call Lane at 509-967-6212 or email her at email@example.com
-- Ty Beaver: 582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald