On Monday, May 11, 2015, Read Ahead hosted its 13th annual benefit gala, Pages of Success, at the exquisite Midtown West venue, Espace. Nearly 300 Read Ahead supporters joined us to celebrate the success of our students, the success of our partnerships in advancing children’s literacy, and the success of our volunteers, who give their time to broaden the horizons and enrich the lives of our students. We are thrilled to announce that Pages of Success raised over $500,000!
Enjoy this photo recap of our event.
Pages of Success at Espace NY
May 11, 2015
Photography by Sean Sime
Cocktail Hour and Silent Auction
During the cocktail hour, our guests enjoyed delicious passed hors d’oeuvres and stimulating conversation while perusing the luxury items in our silent auction. From Magaschoni cashmere accessories for the home to Legends Seats at Yankee Stadium, our guests had the opportunity to bid on an array of unique items and experiences to support Read Ahead. This year’s silent auction brought in $ 14,420 with all proceeds going to support our reading-based mentoring program.
Read Ahead Volunteer with a P.S. 59 student
Celebrity readers with P.S. 59 students
We were honored to have celebrity guests on hand to read to students from P.S. 59 during our inaugural Reading Hour that took place prior to the start of our program. Shane Battier, Jake Cannavale, Michael Cerveris, and Jillian Tapper read Wonder at the Edge of the World by Nicole Helget and Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes to our students, echoing the work that our volunteer mentors do each week.
Jillian Tapper, Miss New York 2014
Michael Cerveris, Tony Award winning Actor
Jake Cannavale, Broadway Star
Shane Battier, Former Miami Heat and Duke University Basketball Player
Gala Chair Julie Allen with Fellow Board Members
We were grateful for the leadership of Julie Allen, Co-Head Global Capital Markets at Proskauer Rose LLP, who served as Gala Chair for the second year in a row. Julie worked closely with the Board of Directors to make Pages of Success a remarkable evening.
Gala Host Roma Torre
Our program opened with our emcee Roma Torre, Time Warner Cable NY1 News’ Mid-Day Anchor and Theater Critic. This is the third year that Ms. Torre served as our mistress of ceremonies and she did a phenomenal job engaging the crowd and keeping the program on track.
Read Ahead Board President Julie North
Ms. Torre then invited Read Ahead Board President Julie North on stage. Ms. North shared that the vision of Read Ahead is to give each child in New York City an opportunity to succeed by providing them with a trusted adult mentor and a love of reading.
Pages of Success
Amidst the breathtaking floral centerpieces, the celebration continued as guests enjoyed their three-course meal: a roasted beet salad, a filet of beef or sautéed spiced salmon, and a lemon meringue tart. The air was full of conversation and laughter as friends and colleagues toasted another successful year for Read Ahead.
Sally Kohn accepts award from Read Ahead student Julie Kam
Eleven-year volunteer Sally Kohn accepted the award on behalf of AEA Investors. During her speech she shared that her experience with Read Ahead has been one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. During her time as a mentor, Ms. Kohn has read with three students, two of whom are siblings. Sally shared that the uniqueness of the Read Ahead program is the opportunity for the adult and student to form a relationship built around reading.
The crowd applauded as Julie Kam, a 3rd grader at P.S. 59 and current reading mentee of Sally Kohn, presented Sally with the award.
Charity auctioneer CK Swett
For the second year in a row, Read Ahead enlisted the help of charity auctioneer extraordinaire CK Swett. To start the live auction, Former Miami Heat and Duke University basketball star Shane Battier offered guests the chance to take a “selfie” with him and his NBA Championship ring. Shane was a natural on stage and three lucky guests won this exclusive opportunity.
Pages of Success Live Auction
The excitement of the first package continued with a bidding frenzy for our “Taste of Luxury” package—a five-course dinner for eight prepared by Matt Abdoo, chef di cuisine at Del Posto. Chef Abdoo was so inspired by the mission of Read Ahead that he offered the auction lot to both of the highest bidders! Our final live auction item was the opportunity to meet Ariana Grande at the Barclays Center stop of her Honeymoon Tour. This year's live auction brought in an astounding $ 30,000!
Read Ahead Alumna Jenny Kam
Sally Kohn of AEA Investors LP introduced her former mentee Jenny Kam. Jenny read with Sally for five years when she was a student at P.S. 59. This once shy student is now in the ninth grade at School of the Future and had the courage to get on stage to tell her Read Ahead story. Jenny shared that because of Sally’s encouragement, she became more comfortable with reading out loud and more confident in the classroom.
Read Ahead Board Members Brian and Lindsay Basloe pictured with our special guests