January 2017 – Cara Jones
Cara Jones has been a volunteer tutor with Read To Succeed for 9 years. She is presently tutoring two learners for whom she is a teacher, coach and encourager. Cara is very kind and always has a smile on her face. We are so glad that Cara has chosen to volunteer with Read To Succeed in addition to her church.
Mrs. Jones is a member of La Vergne First United Methodist Church, where she is involved in the Community Food Pantry and the knitting/crocheting-for-charity group called Heartwarmers.
Cara and her husband, Mel, have been married for almost 52 years. They have two children and one very special grandson. She has worked as a legal secretary and court reporter, but she was a stay-at-home mom while the kids were growing up. Cara has always done volunteer work of one kind or another.
When Mel and Cara moved to Smyrna nine years ago from Central Florida, She knew that she wanted to become involved with helping people learn to read. She has always loved to read. Some of Mrs. Jones’ fondest childhood memories are of her and her best friend taking the bus to the downtown library. They would often imagine being in those books that they would read about solving crimes or living on the prairie or living in a castle as princesses.
One day Cara saw a notice in the La Vergne Library about Read to Succeed’s tutoring program for adult learners. She immediately signed up for the training and it was not long before she started tutoring. Shortly after that, Read to Succeed started their ESL program, and Mrs. Jones was convinced to teach a class. Mrs. Jones taught ESL for 6 years and is now tutoring one-on-one again.
“Helping others learn to read, learn English, or improve on the skills they already have is extremely rewarding. Every single person I have worked with has been most gracious and appreciative. I hope to keep teaching for a long time and am proud to be a part of Read to Succeed.” says Cara Jones.
Thank you Cara and we hope you will be a part of Read To Succeed for a long time too!
February 2017 – Jennifer and Taylor Brigham
Taylor and Jennifer are originally from middle TN. Their family had moved to Memphis in 2006 but moved back in 2014. Jennifer was a paralegal for a law firm in Memphis, but when her husband was relocated, she decided to become a substitute for Rutherford County Schools to spend more time with family. Taylor attends Central Magnet and enjoys playing for the Middle School soccer and golf teams. She also loves volunteering in-between homework and sports.
Taylor and Jennifer Brigham were chosen as our Shining Stars because of the amazing job they do when volunteering. They first volunteered at our 2016 Literacy Day event, interacting with participants and making their game fun for all. Taylor and her mother Jennifer have also volunteered at Family Literacy events, helping with set up and serving food. They are a great team and wonderful volunteers for Read To Succeed.
Taylor and Jennifer said that they volunteered at Read To Succeed because they wanted to make a difference in Rutherford county. We are glad they chose Read To Succeed, and they ARE making a difference!
March 2017- Tyler Armstrong
Tyler Armstrong has been an intern with Read To Succeed during the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 Semesters. Tyler will be receiving a degree in Social Work from MTSU in May. He has been such a blessing at Read To Succeed. He taught ESL classes at the Den, tutored learners, attended community events, assisted with the Family Literacy Nights and the Celebrity Bee. He has a joyful personality and was able to connect with everyone. Tyler has dedicated his life to helping others. We will miss him and we wish him well in the future.
April 2017 – Kendall Jobe
Kendall interned with Read To Succeed the Fall of 2016 and the Spring of 2017. She helped with the planning and execution of several Family Literacy nights, Imagination Stations and other events such as Just Me and My Family and the Celebrity Bee. She taught ESL classes at our remote location, The Den, and she represented Read To Succeed at several community events.
Kendall graduated from Central Magnet school in 2013 and graduated from MTSU this May. She received her degree in Child Development and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology and received the CDFS Outstanding senior of the year.
Kendall is a hard worker and has a passion for reading. We are so grateful to have had Kendall here for the past few months and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
May 2017 – Tammy Walker
Tammy Walker was a part of the Read To Succeed staff for more than 9 years. She may have changed jobs, but she is still part of the Read To Succeed family as she continues to volunteer with us. Tammy always lends a hand at the Celebrity Bee and Volunteer Appreciation luncheon, and regularly answers questions we have related to her many years of service. She has a love of literacy and understands the importance of Read To Succeed’s mission. She continues to support Read To Succeed no matter where life takes her and we could not be more grateful. Literacy Matters to Tammy Walker and Tammy Walker matters to us!
June 2017 – Lucy Saupe
Lucy Saupe is a rising 6th grader who will be attending Central Magnet School this fall. She has committed numerous hours of her summer vacation to assist our Family Literacy Coordinator, Dianne Hall. Lucy has been responsible for processing, sorting, shelving hundreds of donated books Read to Succeed has generously received this summer. Lucy has also been a Girls on the Run girl for the past three seasons! That is how Dianne became acquainted with her.
Lucy is known as “Light-Up Lucy” among her friends and Girls on the Run (GOTR) teammates. This describes Lucy perfectly! She is a “Shining Star” that lights up a room. She is smart, happy and has a flair for the dramatic! She loves to make her friends laugh and keep her family smiling through her quick and quirky sense of humor. We are thankful Lucy has shared her wonderful spirit volunteering with RTS!
July 2017 – Ronald Pridgen
Mr. Pridgen, a resident of Smyrna, attended MTSU and worked at the VA’s Alvin C. York Medical Center while studying nursing. He is a retired psychiatric nurse with 2 adult children (both married) and 1 grandchild but is expecting 3 more grandchildren by December! Ronald felt the need to do something after retirement so he found Read To Succeed through a collaboration with the National Council on Aging. He now dedicates several hours/week to literacy, tutoring 4 learners ranging in age from 18 to 83. We are grateful that Ronald Pridgen has chosen to work with Read To Succeed!
August 2017 – McKayla Boatwright
McKayla is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University. She will be receiving her Bachelors degree in social work this December. McKayla was our summer intern and she helped tremendously in all areas. Along with all the tasks she took on around the office and at community events, McKayla worked one-on-one with a young woman who was interested in improving her reading skills so that she could work toward getting her GED.
McKayla does not have any concrete plans after graduation, but she does plan on working in her field. She loves helping others and that is why she feels like the time and experiences she had at Read To Succeed will be something she will never forget.
September 2017 – Valerie Dehoff
Mrs. DeHoff, a resident of Murfreesboro, is a recently retired teacher. She taught three years for Rutherford County Schools and 33 years at MTCS as a music teacher and choral director. She holds B.A. degrees in music and English from Lipscomb University and an M. Ed from MTSU with additional graduate hours in Music. She has taught classes from PK through high school and directed elementary, junior high and high school choruses. Valerie is married to George DeHoff, Jr. and has three married sons and two granddaughters. Mrs. DeHoff attends Salem Creek Church of Christ and is a member of the Woman’s Club and the DAR. When contemplating retirement she knew she wanted to continue using her experience as a teacher, so combining that with her love of reading made Read To Succeed, especially Imagination Station, an excellent fit. Mrs. DeHoff brings her excitement for literacy with her at the Imagination Stations. She loves to read and sing with the children. She shows the pre-schoolers how fun reading can be. We are so happy that Mrs. DeHoff has chosen to volunteer her time at Read To Succeed.
October 2017 – Linda Reasonover
Linda Reasonover was born and raised in Jackson, Tennessee until she was 13, when her family moved to Nashville where she attended John Overton High School and David Lipscomb University. She majored in French at Lipscomb and took extra classes at Vanderbilt.
Mrs. Reasonover taught French, English, and Reading for 35 years, four years in LaGrange, GA and 31 years in Gallatin, TN at Gallatin High School.
Mrs. Reasonover has been retired for 12 years, and she and her husband moved to Murfreesboro four years ago to be closer to their son Robert, daughter-in-law Amy Cooper Reasonover and three beautiful grandchildren: Libby, Thomas, and Anna.
Linda became involved in Read To Succeed through Debbie Mankin and she has been tutoring for 2 ½ years. Linda says “I love teaching and helping others who want to learn. This is a great program, and I am proud to be a part of it. Just this past year my student, Betty Kraft, received the Student of the Year from Read To Succeed which was exciting and rewarding for both of us.”
Mrs. Reasonover is so encouraging to her learners but she is a great example for us all. We are so glad that Linda Reasonover volunteers with Read To Succeed to make our community a better place.
November 2017 – Jennifer Joines
Jennifer was born in Iowa and moved to St. Louis at 3 years old. She grew up in St. Louis with parents who believed education was of the utmost importance in shaping a person. Jennifer says her parents’ motto was “If you can read- you can achieve”.
Jennifer attended a liberal arts college in Indiana where reading and writing were a very large part of the curriculum. She met her husband and graduated with a BS in Environmental Geology and Nutrition. In 1993, Jennifer moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband’s employment. At that time she began working for the City of Murfreesboro as a wellness instructor.
Jennifer had several friends connected to Read To Succeed and she says their passion about the RTS mission piqued her interest as a great way to give back to her community. She found that she shared similar ideas about helping improve the community and how reading is a basic skill attributed to success.
Jennifer was our Program Assistant for a while. She has since started a new position at Murfreesboro Parks and Rec. She still continues to volunteer with Read To Succeed by helping with the Celebrity Spelling Bee, getting her running group to help with our large mailing, and partnering with RTS on other projects as well.
Two of the most popular RTS and Better Boro programs are:
Our new Walk Read Write Half Marathon, registration available in May at several of the city facilities
Continue to check www.readtosucceed.org for information on these events and more.
December 2017 – Ashlyn Todd
Ashlyn Todd is the oldest of four siblings. She is from Elora, Tennessee, and an alumni of Huntland High School. Ashlyn is now a freshman at MTSU with a major in Psychology. After college Ashlyn plans to become a child psychologist. She found out about Read to Succeed through her MT Engage English course; students were given a list of organizations to pick from and asked to volunteer. Lucky for us, Ashlyn picked Read to Succeed. “I have loved it ever since” Ashlyn said. Ashlyn has helped with many of our Imagination Stations. She loves seeing all of the children’s faces light up when they get their free book. Ashlyn says she values Read to Succeed’s efforts to teach young children and their parents the importance of reading. We look forward to Ashlyn volunteering with Read to Succeed for many years to come.