On Aug. 12, the annual Red Balloon Awards will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in La Jolla from 6 to 10 p.m., which will benefit Traveling Stories. The event will entail an inspiring awards show, as well as several distinguished speakers.
Based out of Mission Valley, over the past seven years Traveling Stories has seen the admission of more than 6,000 students to the program each year.
“If a student is not reading successfully before the age of 10, it is quite difficult for them to progress academically,” said Emily Moberly, founder of Traveling Stories. “While there are similar organizations to ours, we differ in that we place our attention on students entering the fourth grade.”
The Red Balloon Event will showcase five finalists who have an impact in the community. Ted Adams, CEO and founder of IDW Media, well-known for their comic book publications, will be speaking.
“IDW was really big on children’s literacy, particularly with their publication of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the early 90s,” said Moberly. “The overarching theme is literacy. Once a child enters fourth grade, they are reading to learn, and no longer learning to read. This is why it is imperative for children to learn before the end of third grade.”
Other noted speakers will include Valerie Hardie, with READ/San Diego, a program that focuses on adult literacy, and 11-year-old Isabel Tuitau.
Hardie has worked with the City of San Diego’s READ program, which operates under the wing of the Public Library Foundation, for more than five years now.
Largely a volunteer organization, Hardie points to the efforts of READ’s many volunteers as the basis for their success. The program has trained 250 to 300 volunteer tutors and an additional 100 volunteers who don’t tutor. “There is no way we could touch the numbers we do without volunteers,” Hardie said. “They’re the heart of our program.”
Tuitau wrote and illustrated her own book, “Back to Soccer.”
“She [Tuitau] is an example that we can all do something,” said Moberly. “We want the program to be entertaining for children, but make it successful—of which we have truly seen.”