Muskegon foundation to celebrate heroes at free event

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County is partnering with the Muskegon Area District Library (MADL) for this year’s Annual Gathering – Celebrating Heroes.  

The Annual Gathering will take place Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave. in Muskegon. This free event is open to the public. It will feature renowned author Matt de la Peña as headlining speaker along with recognition of a Muskegon County hero through this year’s Impact Award. 
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times-bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of seven young adult novels and five picture books. Two of his books that feature stories of heroes’ journeys were chosen for MADL's NEA Big Read Lakeshore.  

De la Peña will share his journey from reluctant reader to writer, focusing on the barriers many working-class boys and young men encounter in the acquisition of literacy. Book sales and signing will also be available.
The Impact Award recognizes a local hero and community leader who has gone above and beyond to advance education, foster a dynamic local economy, and promote prosperity for all in Muskegon County. The recipient will receive $5,000 to grant to a local nonprofit.
“This event is a natural fit, as both the Community Foundation and MADL have a shared focus of lifelong literacy,” says Todd Jacobs, Community Foundation president. “This will be an evening filled with great networking, food from local favorites, and a celebration of local and national heroes.” 

Local businesses will provide complimentary food. Networking will begin at 6 p.m. with the program starting at 7 p.m. While the event is free, registration is strongly encouraged. Please register here.

‘Shared literary experience’

The NEA Big Read Lakeshore is supported by Hope College through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and brought to the area by MADL. 

This program encourages the community to connect through the power and possibility of literature by participating in the readings and teachings of the same books. It also fosters a culture where community and reading matter. 
“We are proud to bring NEA Big Read Lakeshore and Matt de la Peña to Muskegon County,” says Ron Suszek, MADL director. “This shared literary experience not only introduces readers to new and exciting stories, but it also brings us together as a community to offer a better understanding of ourselves and our neighbors.” 
In addition to the partnership between the foundation and MADL, the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District has been instrumental in making NEA Big Read Lakeshore an inclusive community initiative. MAISD has integrated the book “Last Stop on Market Street” into the second-grade curriculum and literacy coaching efforts this fall. Also, students from across the county will be able to attend a program on Nov. 10 at Orchard View Auditorium, where de la Peña will be presenting to over 800 second graders.

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.