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Hi, all,

Just two days before convention and I am packing up.  Just a couple of updates:

1.  Sharyn McCrumb will have SIX titles available for sale and signing Thur at registration and right after her speech:  St. Dale (about the Daytona 500 and its patron saint); She Walks These Hills and The Ballad about Frankie Silver (with story lines taken from history and Appalachian ballads); Ghost Riders (about the War Between the States and Zebulon Vance); and her latest, The Ballad of Tom Dooley.  I love them all.  Being a Tennessee-Carolina girl, I love Frankie Silver and She Walks These Hills.  I have heard these “stories” growing up and they used to scare the daylights out of me; the music, of course, is haunting.  TOM DOOLEY, everybody my age remembers, was popularized as a song by the Kingston Trio.  I could not put it down–staying up half the night to finish.  Sharyn has created a real monster, a misfit sociopath in one character, but I don’t want to give too much away.  How she has constructed St. Dale is something only a SMART, AX-type could do!  Anyway, bring your own copies for buy them at the convention.

2.  Susan Fillion, our speaker on Friday morning, has written an exciting narrative about art history.  She traces how Baltimore Museum of Art has come to own so many works of Matisse and other impressionists.  The story itself is fascinating and it really goes to show that what your mother said was true:  it never hurts to be nice to people.  You never know when one might turn out to be the next Matisse.  She will have copies as well and some of you may want to explore the museum while you are in Baltimore.

3.  Our literacy service project:  SOOOOO bring your books to the Registration desk on THUR.  Two RIF staff, Nikki and Kathryn, will be there collect them.  We need a little help plating the books, so if you have 15minutes to help us, we’d appreciate it.  We ALSO have some books to sell if you decided to buy on site.  Our books are $4.00 each.  MOBILE and BRIDGEWATER, we have yours!  Our Lipscomb friends will take pictures of the project itself. 18 of us will be in pre-k-2nd grade classes at Inner Harbor Academy. We’ll do a read-aloud and a motivational activity and end with a book distribution.  Last year we donated about 1000 books!!  Only one poor child in 300 owns a book, so this is a good thing AX is doing!  Should be a wonderful experience!

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Hi, all,

Many thanks to the Texas Eta chapter, with sponsor Jeanne Tunks, our first volunteers for the RIF event. SEVEN of them will be going with us.

We have a great school that is less than a mile from the convention hotel that we will be working with as our RIF school. We’ll collect books (bring for elementary school children), take them to the school, actually do a read-aloud in 5 classes, do a little activity, and help children select two books of their own to take home. We will be working in classrooms of pre-k, k, and grade 1. We will be able to leave the rest of the books for grades 2-5 to have book distributions in their classes as well. This particular school has 77% of the children eligible for free and reduced lunch. Also, if you have been following the national, state, and local budgeting processes over the past couple of years, you have seen that school book budgets across the country have been slashed and in many cases libraries closed! So this is a wonderful public service we will be doing.

I will have about 100 books with me which I will sell for $4.00 each, for those of you who can not or do not want to bring books with you to Baltimore. RIF will take care of getting all the books to the school.

I hope you will consider helping us! It will take about 90 minutes out of your afternoon, AND it is very close to our hotel.

Please email me with questions or comments (jcheatham@rif.org).  See you soon!

Dr. Judy Cheatham, National Council Vice President, Alpha Chi

For the past few years, volunteers from AX have gone to an elementary school for an event at which we work in classrooms with children, helping them choose books donated by ALPHA CHI, reading their books with them, and then doing some kind of activity related to literacy.  These have been greatly successful.  More details to follow, but save the date:  Friday afternoon, one hour, probably 1:30-2:30 or 2-3.

The school we’ll visit is located 3/4 mile from the hotel, so you can volunteer to work at the RIF/AX event and STILL have plenty of time to see Baltimore.  If you are interested in volunteering, please let me know: jcheatham@rif.org.  ALSO, if you want to buy your book to donate at the conference, we’ll have children’s books for a flat rate of $4.00 each.

Let me know if you have questions, and STAY TUNED!

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