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RIFSoCal Celebrated 50 Years of

Sharing the Magic of Books and Literacy

RIFSoCal Celebrated 50 Years of Sharing the Magic of Books and Literacy with a Wine & Design fundraiser on Sunday, June 5, 2022, at the Calabasas home of Board President Alva Sachs and her husband Paul.

Hugs and excitement permeated the afternoon as Board members and guests celebrated the afternoon in person after two years of zooming.


Amy Jurist, former RIF KID and Chef/Owner of Amy’s Culinary Adventures (, voted #1 Caterer on the LA CityVoter Hotlists and Wedding Wire Couple’s Choice winner for the last 8 years, created an amazingly delicious array of goodies.

Wine & Design’s ( local artist helped us create memories - and masterpieces - of the day.

Gina Main ( captured the afternoon’s excitement.

Board member, Angie Flores, assembled the most diverse and exciting silent auction imaginable!

With help and support from RIFSoCal Board members Jen Gresenz, Angie Flores, Teresa Verduzco Lopez, Andrew Meneses, Alva Sachs, Leat Regwan Phnesha Jefferson, and Mike Chavez, and Carol Henault, Executive Director, Oscar Cux, Program Services Manager, and Raymond Gonis, Book Program Manager, our 50th Anniversary Celebration was a smashing success.

ONWARDS to another 50 years of inspiring Readers for Tomorrow!

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Rise Up Foundation

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Rise Up Foundation to Donate $25,000 to RIF of Southern California

Partnering to bring literacy resources to the children of Southern California


Los Angeles, CA--- September 2018--- Rise Up Foundation is celebrating 10 years of supporting and providing resources towards literacy in September 2018. In honor of this important milestone, Rise Up is partnering with the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) of Southern California to further their mission of getting much needed resources and books into the hands of over 90,000 eager young readers in the Los Angeles region.


RIF aims to promote literacy and motivate children to read by providing new books to create home libraries for underserved children in Southern California. This September, the Southern California chapter of RIF will host their annual teacher orientations in both Costa Mesa and Los Angeles, giving the educators who participate in their book donation program a unique opportunity to learn more about the organization’s resources. Rise Up founder and award-winning trans media author Alane Adams will be a featured presenter at the orientation events and will also have the opportunity to visit some of the classrooms served by RIF. Adams will also formally present a donation of $25,000. This donation will help fund additional book purchases, which are provided to students during the school year.


The Southern California RIF orientations will take place in Costa Mesa on September 11th, and in Los Angeles on September 13th. Additional information on the orientation programs can be found at To learn more about Rise Up Foundation and its exciting ten year history of serving young readers nationwide and beyond, visit  For more information on Alane Adams, visit

RIF Honored with Library of Congress Award

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RIF is proud to announce that we were awarded the esteemed Library of Congress 2018 David M. Rubenstein Prize which honors organizations making outstanding and measurable contributions toward increasing literacy levels. The prize recognizes an organization that demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth in its commitment to the advancement of literacy. RIF is excited to continue our mission to inspire a passion for reading and provide quality content to help every child achieve their highest potential.

RIFSoCal Participates in PBS SoCal’s 2018 Summer Learning Day!

As a PBS SoCal partner organization, RIFSoCal was delighted to be part of their 2018 Summer Learning Day on Saturday June 30, 2018 at the Douglas F. Dollarhide Community Center in Compton, CA.  The afternoon was an amazing opportunity to talk with approximately 500 local families and provide support for summer learning.

Carol Henault, RIFSoCal Executive Director and RIFSoCal Board member Angie Flores, author of Cub’s Wish.  

RIFSoCal also met and talked with numerous schools and community programs interested in becoming a participating site in our 2018-2019 Motivational Reading Program, and proudly highlighted our partnership with Story Monster Ink, a literary resource for teachers, librarians and parents, listed among the best magazines for kids and teens by the School Library Journal.  

Summer Learning Day, a national day of celebration, raises awareness of the importance of summer learning programs and their effectiveness in preventing student “summer learning loss,” while increasing access and opportunity to quality summer school readiness and out-of-school classroom resources. 


PBS SoCal’s work in the community is focused on inspiring people to fulfill their full potential as lifelong learners who are committed to culture and community. Necessary educational opportunities are often difficult to access, so PBS SoCal helps close the achievement gap through our local education and engagement initiatives – which change the way children learn and introduce them to a world of possibilities.

Literacy, Books & Advocacy: Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California

Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri, Teacher & Author

I love books. The smell of books, picture books, fashion books, yoga books, and tear your heart out books. This school year, when planning for our year long social studies unit, Friendships & Schools, I immediately thought of literacy. Not knowing if our K/1 class would be able to grasp this big concept, we went ahead and tried.

As we wrap up our learnings, we are blown away by the discussions we have had with our little ones. We investigated the book system, the library system, the literacy system, the friendship system, the school system, and how they are interconnected. Our little ones said:

Books let you travel the world.

Books are my friends.

I can learn about animals because I care about them.

Without books there would be no understanding.

Books teach you about other cultures, and how we are both different and the same.

Books teach you about the Life Skills.

In learning that books and literacy help support one's overall well-being, our K/1 class took a walking field trip to the local library. The children's librarian thoroughly shared the many systems found in the library. They were in awe when they saw the vast assortment of books. Then we wondered, "What about the communities where access to books and libraries is limited?"


We gathered inspiration from the picture book, Waiting for Biblioburro, by Monica Brown. The book is based on Luis Soriano, the Colombian teacher/librarian who brings books to children in the countryside of Colombia. We discussed that we, as community members have a responsibility to rebuild systems that are broken or unbalanced. In the spirit of Biblioburro, our students partnered with Reading is Fundamental of Southern California (RIFSoCal). Our little ones purchased one new book with the money earned doing various chores. They washed cars, swept the floors, helped with laundry, and even scrubbed handprints off the wall. They also went through their personal at home libraries and chose 3-4 books to donate. Our class then beautifully decorated book bags and used them to store the books. We will be donating the book bags, and the books, to RIFSoCal in an effort to support their mission of literacy and learning in school communities. A big bravo and love hug to our little, yet mighty advocates!

July 10 at 1:03 PM · 

Yesterday, our Family Support Services Staff (FSS) coordinated a Libros Y Limonada / Books and Lemonade event for the children and families at the House. One of the FSS volunteers read a book to the group gathered. All of the books were donated by Reading is Fundamental of Southern California (RIFSoCal). One of our volunteers went to select the books at the RIFSoCal warehouse. Each of the children selected the perfect book and bookmark, while parents, volunteers and staff watched with pride.

Then everyone enjoyed lemonade, fruit and cookies. We appreciate RIFSoCal for this amazing donation. We appreciate the opportunity to share a love of reading and books with all of the children at the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House. 
Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California (RIFSoCal)#caughtreading,#RMHCSC


Macy's "Thanks for Sharing" Event Supports RIFSoCal

Once again RIFSoCal thanks Macy's for their support.  

Participation in their 2016 "Thanks For Sharing" holiday promotion netted RIFSoCal $114,152 to use toward book purchases!

In the 2016-2017 program year, RIFSoCal distributed 206,003 new, free books of choice.

Young Authors' Faire: Orange County

You are invited to attend “Celebrate Your Story” at the 14th Annual Orange County Young Authors’ Faire!  

Date: Saturday, May 16, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Locations: Aliso Viejo, La Habra and Tustin Libraries

The Young Authors’ Faire is a community literacy showcase celebration for students that include opportunities to meet authors, illustrators, storytellers, and engage in hands-on literacy activities.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Exciting news! RIFSoCal participated in the 18th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books held on Saturday and Sunday, April 20 – 21 on the USC Campus.

We shared the Civic Engagement booth #701 in the John C. Argue Plaza to promote great entertainment including storytimes with fiveof our favorite children’s book authors. Each author read and raffled twenty-five signed copies of their books, and twenty-five lucky children received one to keep as their very own. We were very excited to have Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker to most of you) read Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.

 RIFSoCal  also raffled two Kindle Paperwhite 3-G E-Readers! Saturday’s winners were Sylvia and Wesley Witherspoon. The winners on Sunday were Karina and Kim Alexander. Congratulations! Enjoy your Kindles and keep reading!


Saturday, April 20:


11:30 - 12:15 Alva Sachs, author of I’m Five, Circus Fever, and On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!, will read and raffle copies of Circus Fever.


12:15 – 1:00 Laura Marlowe, author of Tommy the Throwaway Dog, and Roo B. Dee and the Lazy Day, will will read and raffle Tommy the Throwaway Dog.


4:00 – 4:45 Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri, author of Rubber Shoes, and Pink Fire Trucks, will read and raffle her book, Rubber Shoes.


Sunday April 21:


1:00 – 1:45 Sheri Fink, author of The Little Rose, Exploring the Garden with the Little Rose, The Little Gnome, and The Little Firefly, will will read and raffle her book The Little Rose.


1:45 – 2:30 Elle Febbo, author of What Love Is…A-Z, will will read and raffle copies of her book What Love Is…A-Z.

Every year, families, schools, and community leaders join together to challenge Los Angeles County students, preschool through 12th grade, to read millions of words outside of the classroom. Under the leadership of Families In Schools, and now in its 11th year, the Million Word Challenge engages hundreds of schools to promote the power of reading. The 2012 Million Word Challenge brought the power of reading to over 180,000 students in 357 Los Angeles County schools from 48 school districts.


The 2013 Million Word Challenge launched February 4, 2013. Los Angeles County schools may register at Once registered, schools have access to the tools they need to support literacy on their campus through an on-line handbook. A Million Word Challenge webinar is also available to help staff support the campaign at their school.

It’s March! That means time for Read Across America and Read Across California

Join Maria Shriver in encouraging kids to read:

“Reading is a many splendored thing…Let’s end illiteracy in California!”

Sign up with ‘Soar With Reading’ and Jet Blue will donate a book to a child through First Book!

AKA Sorority Sponsors Event for Children in Inglewood

Aspiring student writers at Voorhis Elementary School recently enjoyed a visit from children’s book author and RIFSoCal Board member, Alva Sachs.  Sachs, the author of On Your Mark Get Set Go, Circus Fever and I’€™m 5, read her stories to the primary students and shared how a book develops from a creative idea into its final published copy.  She then led a writing session with the fourth and fifth graders, explaining story boards, fun titles, colorful and interesting writing and the importance of writing a story with a hook to peak the readers’ interest. 
For full article, follow this link

On November 19, 2011, 35-40 children and their parents enjoyed a day filled with arts and crafts, storytelling, singing songs, puppetry, and creating artwork for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  This annual event, hosted by Theta Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. at the Inglewood Public Library, concluded with Sorority members reading books to the children, children reading books to the group, and families selecting three books, donated by Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California, to take home to keep for their home library.  Remaining books were donated to the “Hillsides” facility in Pasadena, CA, an agency that shelters foster children and children whose parents are incarcerated.

To promote literacy and motivate children to read by providing new books to create home libraries for underserved children in Southern California.

"I want to read with my family so they

could be better readers like me."

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Contact Information

Carol Henault

Executive Director

Oscar Cux

Program Service Manager

Raymond Gonis

Warehouse Manager

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