Raise Money for Tutoring By Allowing My Buddy to Cheat
Tis true! Here is a message I received recently from my buddy Davin. Davin’s a good guy. He volunteers at 826NYC and tutors the kids there. Now Davin has entered a contest. I’ll let him tell you about it. Suffice it to say, I want to help him raise as much money as possible for this program. Read through it yourself. If you think it sounds like something you’d like to do, drop him a buck or two. It’s for a good cause and it involves Scrabble. The best of both worlds.
Here’s what he has to say:
Most of you know that I juggle words for a living. You may not know that I . . . stink at spelling. And I sort of stink at board games, too, with their relentless strategery, and things.
So it might surprise you that I’ve signed up to compete in a charity Scrabble tournament against celebrities like John Hodgman (author, television personality, and “PC” from the Mac ads) and John Oliver (nothing but a lowly Daily Show correspondent). But most of you have also heard me gush about volunteering at the local not-for-profit tutoring center, 826NYC (www.826nyc.org), and all proceeds from this Scrabble throwdown will help provide free after-school tutoring and workshops for New York City students between the ages of 6 and 18. (We’re good folks, too: A fellow volunteer was just named the country’s first national ambassador for young people’s literature for the Library of Congress.)
So I’ve armed myself with an awesome partner, Elaine. She’s a biology texbook editor, and may be the smartest person I know. When Nobel Prize winners write books about their work, she’s the one who says to them, “Seriously: Dr. Watson. Stop forgetting that third step.” She’ll be the one laying down “deoxyribonucleic” — with only seven tiles. She’s that good.
But as fearsome and nonsensical as an illiterate writer and witty biologist might be, we can’t do it alone — because this tournament has a twist: The more money we raise for the center, the more our team gets to cheat. Raising $50 allows us to buy a vowel, for instance; $200 means we can slap a Q, X, or Z on any word, anywhere — and it pays for three after-school workshops for local children. (A complete list of cheats can be found here: http://www.826nyc.org/scrabble/)
I figure a spot of spending comes easiest this time of year, and surely “more charity for children” is right above “more exercise,” on your list of resolutions. So if you can spare a dime as the New Year kicks off, I’d be grateful if you would help the center’s continuing mission to foster greater literacy and creativity among children — and help us subdue, suppress and subjugate the competition through flimflam, chicanery and utter bamboozlement. Money can be pledged by following this link and clicking the “Sponsor Us” button above our progress meter.
If you can’t donate, challenge us to practice matches, send us your favorite two-letter words — or just come out January 19th and cheer us on. The world needs more groupies.
Please feel free to pass this message along to any friends, family members, neighbors, first dates, or strangers on the subway who just seem like they might like to read and write. This is truly one of the good causes.
Thanks so much for supporting 826NYC! (And us.)
Davin and Elaine
Me again. Just a note: Look at those other teams! We got to help them beat those other people. Anything you can do is appreciated. Go, Davin, go go go!
(And in a perfect world, I imagine the tournament would occur in the following room)
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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