PC READS kicks holds first annual fundraiser and award program
Five years ago, eight people sat around a table in Elissa Aten’s kitchen. They discussed their plans to create an organization that would help educate the community about dyslexia and provide resources for youth struggling with it.
Now, the organization, called PC READS, is thriving in the Park City area. Last weekend, it held its first major fundraising event and started an award program to honor people in the community who have gone above and beyond to help those struggling with reading disabilities, including dyslexia. Katherine Martz, a dyslexia therapist in Park City, won the first Elevating Literacy Award.
Jackie Blake, co-founder of PC READS, said that the fundraiser, dubbed Gin and Phonics, was successful in both raising money and spreading the word about what the organization is. They hope to continue holding the event every year. It was sponsored by the Forza Insurance Group and the Joseph James Morelli Scholarship Fund.
There was a brief presentation about the accomplishments of PC READS, such as helping to launch a dyslexia initiative in the Park City School District and starting a youth mentorship program, and its plans to grow in the future. Then, Martz was presented with her award. She said she was grateful, and a little shocked, to be recognized.
“I was honored because I do believe that there are other very qualified professionals in this field in the Park City area,” she said.
Martz said she was introduced to the complexities of dyslexia while working as a reading aide at Parley’s Park Elementary School. After completing a workshop with the reading education program Wilson Language Training, she was hooked. She pivoted toward helping students with dyslexia and for the last eight years has continued to seek out more learning and training opportunities. She was at some of the first meetings as PC READS formed.
Martz plans to continue her training this summer as she starts a yearlong Wilson Reading System trainer internship under the supervision of the University of Utah Reading Clinic. PC READS is funding the internship through a grant.
“I realize I am continuing to evolve and grow, and I think that is why I enjoy what I do so much,” she said. “Each student is unique. Each experience and each interaction is unique.”
Blake said that she and Aten had talked about starting an award program and a fundraising event for a couple years because they wanted a chance to honor people in the community who have helped students learn to read.
Martz seemed like an obvious choice for the first award because she helps students “gain confidence and self-esteem not only in school, but in personal life,” Blake said.
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There was a common theme in every address delivered during the Park City High School Class of 2021 graduation ceremony Thursday: gratitude.