View this email in your browser

Celebrating our Invaluable Volunteers
by Ellenore Angelidis, Executive Director

April is volunteer month and we wanted to celebrate all the amazing people who give their time and talent. When I founded this organization, I wanted to create opportunities for talented supporters that would involve using their skills. So many of whom have amazing gifts we want to use in service of a mission.

Jane Kurtz is a great example. She is an award-winning author who also co-founded an amazing collaborating organization; then led fundraising and served on the board for years. But her first love is writing and her desire to have that be her chosen volunteer activity led to the birth of OHBD’s RSG book project. Alex Regasa is another great example. He is a talented artist who volunteers to illustrate some of our books like The Lost Son, The Lost Sheep, A Welcome in Axum and Go Outside however he wanted to use his talents in a more direct way with kids. He then proposed an OHBD artist-in-residence pilot so he could bring the joy of art to many more children.

And the list goes on and on. We want to formally recognize these amazing contributions. We are later than I'd hoped in starting our volunteer recognition program, but I subscribe to the belief of "better late than never." So, this month we are launching our OHBD Big Dreams Heroes and Leaders in Literacy, Innovation, and Inclusion Awards to recognize these invaluable contributions. These volunteers and supporters are leaders in the truest sense of the word. They exemplify our mission of empowering youth to transform their futures and follow our tenets to accomplish the objectives. They consistently challenge us to think bigger and increase our positive impact. We could not do our work without them.

We have three categories for Literacy (has the largest number of awardees since our most mature project); Innovation and Inclusion (none yet since we just started), our pillars of focus. Each category also includes subcategories. In Literacy, these include authors, illustrators, author/illustrator, educators, ambassadors, fundraisers, and translators. Innovation includes a wide range of trainers, mentors, ambassadors, translators, fundraisers, and educators. And in Innovation, these are our trainers, mentors, authors, illustrators, ambassadors, fundraisers, and educators.

We also have volunteers that help across our efforts to enable BIG DREAMs. There are our OHBD Heroes. Please congratulation all our award winners. You will be learning more about them in the coming months on our website and social media.

I volunteer because I learned so much along my non-linear career path which I want to apply to some of the thorniest challenges facing underserved children and youth in Ethiopia and do my part to make the world more equal. I volunteer to pay it forward to all who helped me over the years. I volunteer to connect my amazing daughter to her birth country and first culture. I volunteer because I get to know and work with some of the most amazing people on the planet. Their dedication, resolve, and generosity give me hope for the future.

Thank you to all our amazing volunteers. You are my motivation and inspiration. If you are looking for these types of volunteer opportunities, please reach out. We need, and cherish, you all!

Author Jane Kurtz Recognized For Literary Leadership

We were privileged to present the Literacy Leader award to Jane Kurtz in recognition for her tireless and inspired efforts to increase not only the ability to read, but a love of reading in areas that often struggle to access printed books. Her lifelong passion to increase access and engagement to knowledge, joy, and opportunities has enriched countless students and peers. We are grateful for her dedication and look forward to helping make more BIG dreams possible. Read about the beautiful path that brought her to volunteer with OHBD on the blog.
OHBD Launches Award Program

We are excited to announce the creation of the OHBD Heroes and Leaders in Literacy, Innovation, and Inclusion Program to recognize amazing contributions. These volunteers and supporters are leaders in the truest sense of the word. They exemplify our mission of empowering youth to transform their futures and follow our tenets to accomplish the objectives. They consistently challenge us to think bigger and increase our positive impact. We could not do our work without them. Look out for the full list coming soon on social media posts, our blog and website.

2021 Literacy Award recipients in the Illustration category
2021 Literacy Award recipients in the Author category
GiveBIG 2021 is Underway!

Early giving has kicked off for GiveBIG 2021, a statewide effort on May 4 - 5 to raise funds for nonprofit organizations across Washington state. We are delighted to be participating again in this inspiring day of statewide generosity and impact. We currently have $6500 in matching funds available (our goal is $7500). We are also looking for fundraisers to help us introduce new people to our work and earn the matching funds. Please let us know if you can help with either or both.  Our overall goal is to raise $15,000.

This year, GiveBIG donations to Open Hearts Big Dreams will support literacy, leadership, inclusion, and innovation projects benefiting kids and youth in addition to their families and communities across Ethiopia.

We are piloting an in-country printing effort of our Ready Set Go Books to provide affordable or free access to these much needed resources. Engaging, colorful mother-tongue books are a key input to increasing literacy and reading comprehension.

We are working on creating more opportunities for kids with disabilities in Ethiopia including featuring them in our books and highlighting and amplifying innovative work done in country. These efforts will help them participate more fully in the countries priorities to the benefit of all.

We are piloting leadership-focused, gender-balanced, inclusive Computer Science Boot Camps with the US Embassy American Corners to help create leaders who can contribute to solving challenges in their communities as well as creating economic opportunities for themselves.

We are finalizing our Ready Set Go STEM Teacher’s manuals for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in addition to developing teacher training as part of a fall roll out. Teachers currently lack resource materials as well as continuing education and this will help to close that gap.

Gifts at all levels make a big difference. For example:

$50 will provide 25 locally printed Ready Set Go books to a school or library in Ethiopia 
$100 will provide art supplies for our artist-in-residence program for 6 months
$250 will underwrite some of the design and production costs of our Ready Set Go Books
$500 will fund training of five local STEM teachers
$1000 will fund two students attending a 6-month STEM Boot Camp
$1500 will sponsor the creation of a new Ready Set Go Book including ones focused on inclusion
$2000 will sponsor the printing of 1000 copies of a new Ready Set Go Book title in Ethiopia

Join us today to create opportunity for youth to learn, grow, and support their communities in Ethiopia!

VOA Amharic interview
Leyla and Ellenore were honored to be interviewed on Voice of America Amharic (small parts are in English) about our literacy project. Thanks to a whole lot of volunteers and supporters we are now one, of if not the leading African language children's book publisher globally with 110 unique bilingual titles in four African languages plus English (over 350 books total – each one pictured is a unique title/language). We publish new books most months. Thank you for making this possible in just four years!
Read Along with us on the OHBD YouTube Channel!
Thanks to our amazing volunteers, we've curated a delightful playlist of read aloud videos in multiple Ethiopian languages for our YouTube Channel! Learn about Ethiopian wildlife and rare animals found nowhere else on Earth, or explore the streets of an Ethiopian city through the pages of one of our Ready, Set, Go Books in English, Amharic, and Tigrinya. Subscribe to enjoy dozens (and growing!) of enriching and entertaining videos. And if you're inspired to create a video for us, we'll send you a FREE Ready Set Go book to read! Contact us and we'll send you a book!

Enjoy Rahel Bekele reading The Runaway Injera on the OHBD YouTube Channel.

And check out this video uploaded to the Ethiopia Reads channel by one of our award winners, Artist Eyayu Genet reading Surprise on Lake Tana, which he illustrated

You Can Help Support Literacy and Innovation!

  1. Run a personal fundraiser for GiveBIG! You can create your own personal fundraiser page or start one on Facebook! Facebook covers the fees so more goes to the mission. Ask your employer if they offer matching donations!
  2. Ask your school or library to carry our books. We offer a 30% discount for bulk purchases!
  3. Create a video for our YouTube Channel and get a FREE Ready Set Go Book! Contact us for details!
Copyright © 2021 Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp