VEP’s signature spring fundraising event, An Evening of Inspiration, was held virtually on Thursday evening, June 24, 2021. Leon Spencer, Jr., Board Chairman of the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union and former Mayor of Kennett Square emceed the evening which featured a live interactive conversation with author Helena Ku Rhee, a corporate attorney and author from Los Angeles. Ms. Rhee, author of the children’s book, The Paper Kingdom, shared how she has been inspired by her immigrant parents as well as her travels around the world.
The Paper Kingdom (Penguin Random House 2020) is based on Ms. Rhee’s childhood, when her parents worked as night janitors and had to take her to work due to lack of childcare. In a deserted office building, they turned drudgery into magic for their young child (complete with dragons and a magnificent kingdom filled with paper). The story weaves subtle commentary about the haves and have-nots and speaks directly to many of the same struggles experienced by VEP students.
Ms. Rhee, recently featured as a guest on NPR, shared her journey as a first generation American woman as well as her passion for writing children’s books, screenplays and articles for publications such as the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Salon. As a VP at Sony Pictures by day, she dreams up story ideas in her spare time.
Guests joined the event early for an informal Zoom meet and greet with other participants and listened to the accomplished WCASD Senior Strings, conducted by Katrina Kelly, performing the symphonic work Perseus, by Soon-Hee Newbold, a female composer who was born in South Korea and grew up in Maryland. The virtual event also featured remembrances of friends Betsy and Bob Hawkes and a celebration of Shannon Almquist, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for her 35-year commitment to VEP.
Thank you to the following leadership sponsors for their generosity:
Anonymous – multiple gifts
Capacity for Change
Bonnie & Jim Friedman Family
Mary Anne Noel and Phil Friedman
Fulton Bank, Malvern Bank
Liz & Chuck Maser
Reformation Lutheran Church of Media
Stored Energy Concepts
Lutz & Travers, PC
Shirley & Everett Warren
The VEP Board of Directors
Friends of VEP
35 Days for 35 Years Challenge
The “35 Days for 35 Years Challenge” was a great first-time fundraiser for VEP. During the months of May and June, friends completed personal challenges (the same activity or different ones). Whether writing a letter to one friend, walking a mile, cooking a new meal or reading 10 pages, they did something every day to better themselves or the world around them in honor of VEP’s 35 years of service. Through each $35 donation to VEP, people worked together to make a lasting, life-long improvement in the lives of individuals and their families for generations to come.
Early Spring Event Highlights
March Scrabble Madness Tournament
Ducis Rodgers, 6abc Action News Sports Director, Announces Scrabble Tournament Winners!
Thank you to everyone who participated in this first ever March Scrabble Madness Tournament! The tournament was inspired by a suggestion from a VEP tutor, Larry Jilk, whose daughter, Linda Jilk, has hosted similar annual in-person events in Roanoke, Virginia. VEP thought a Scrabble tournament, with the connection between words and games, would be a fitting way for our community to spend time together as we stay physically — but not socially — distanced, just a little bit longer.
Ducis Rodgers, 6abc Action News Sports Director, was our guest emcee at the close of this year’s tournament. Click here to watch Ducis’ remote broadcast announcing this year’s prize winners!
We had a number of boards submitted and over 50 participants! Five awards were handed out – ranging from highest score to lowest score, best Spring word, most original word and youngest player. We had many impressive words played – including a three-way tie for most tiles used in one play; three participants used all seven tiles in one play! Some of our favorite spring words included zinnia, swing, aloha and nest. Some of our other favorite words were ay, xi, biped and yak. Our lowest scoring play was the word “to” for 3 points.
And the 2021 Prize Winners are…
Lowest Scoring Game: Randall H.
Youngest Player: Rockney W.
Most Original Word: Livi H. (“azo”)
Best Spring Word: Janet Z. (“aloha”)
Highest Scoring Game: Martin M.
All participation fees, in addition to the support of our Double Letter sponsor, Lutz and Travers accounting firm, and prize donations from local businesses, enable us to support our active tutors and students with books, access to online subscriptions and other learning materials for free. Thank you to all who participated or donated!
2021 Double Letter Tournament Sponsor:
Lutz & Travers Accounting Firm
2021 Prize Donations:
Sunshine Letter Co.
The Kennett Bookhouse
Finally, an extra special thanks to Ducis Rodgers for serving as our emcee for this inaugural tournament! Be sure to check out Ducis’ daily, live-from-home Scrabble messages on 6abc Action News at 6:00 and 11:00 pm every weekday to see how easy mixing and crossing words can be!