This week’s Race to the top of Vermont Spotlight is on Everybody Wins! Vermont. Everybody Wins! Vermont has had a team at every single RTTTOVT event; how many others can make that claim? Not only that, the organization has a dedicated mission to help improve the lives of Vermont youth throughout the state. Everybody Wins! was started in 2000 with the support of Senator Jim Jeffords, to help children who are struggling with reading and school have a better chance at a good life. Caring mentors are friends who read books, talk about life, and play games over lunch, creating an opportunity unique from the time spent with a tutor or teacher. It is the largest mentoring organization in the state, with sites in 24 elementary schools in 8 counties, and over 600 mentors reading with children every year.
We recently got a chance to catch up with Beth Wallace, executive director at Everybody Wins! Vermont to learn more about this amazing program and what motivates them to participate in the race every year.
Name: Beth Wallace
Organization Home Base: Montpelier, VT
Occupation: Executive Director, Everybody Wins! Vermont
CTA: How many years have you had a team participate in RTTOVT?
BW: There has been a team from Everybody Wins! Vermont at the Race every year since the beginning. The tradition was started by director Amy Cunningham and board president Beth Fastiggi, who have both completed the Race every year. The group changes from year to year–mentors, friends, board members, staff have all been involved. This year we’re starting a new tradition, encouraging mentors to complete the RTTTOVT to benefit their school Everybody Wins! site. In the long run, we hope to have someone hiking or racing to support their Everybody Wins! site from each of the 24 communities.
CTA: What is it about the race to the top that draws a team back year after year?
BW: It’s a lot of fun for our supporters who hike or run. There’s all the excitement of getting your packet and t-shirt, the event itself on a gorgeous mountain with support all along the way, the barbecue, the raffle! It’s a great day and a blast to be part of. I haven’t been able to hike it because of a knee injury but even being part of the support team and being on top to welcome folks is a kick.
For Everybody Wins! Vermont as an organization, it’s wonderful to be involved in a big event that we don’t have to organize. We just don’t have the reach or the capacity to put on an event this size. And because we don’t have to manage the event itself or the logistics or the sponsors–all the things the Catamount Trail Association does so well–we can focus on our team and fundraising. It’s also great exposure for us, and we hope for the Catamount Trail Association too–we publicize it through all our channels as part of our campaign and we hope that both organizations reach an audience that otherwise might not know about them. We are really happy to be able to support the Catamount Trail Association while raising funds and awareness for Everybody Wins! Vermont.
CTA: What has been your most memorable moment from the RTTTOVT?
BW: Seeing our team members come up around that last corner. It’s an accomplishment and I’m so proud of them. And I love being on top of the mountain–I worked for the Green Mountain Club in my 20s so those few minutes on top before everyone starts to pour in are precious.
CTA: Does the team have any goals for the race, either in terms of numbers, fundraising effort, or for the day of the race?
BW: Eventually, we’d like to have someone from every Everybody Wins! Vermont site participating, which would mean a pretty big team, 25-30 people. Our fundraising goal for this year is $5000. Last year we more than doubled the year before, and raised over $3000. We hope that will increase every year as we are able to involve more and more people. The most important goal is for everyone who comes to support Everybody Wins! Vermont to have a good race or hike!
CTA: What is your best “life” advice?
BW: I don’t feel qualified to give anyone advice, but the older I get the more it seems to me that kindness and humility are key–even or maybe especially in an atmosphere of competition or high standards. Doing your absolute best, no holds barred, AND taking care of one another–that is a magical combination.
CTA: Any other tidbits about Everybody Wins?
BW: Having an adult come to school every week to spend time with you and read together is a big, big deal for a child. Joe Doud, general manager of the Vermont Lake Monsters, a former mentor and a board member, said to me once, “All I have to do is walk in the door every week for him to think I’m a superhero.” That’s pretty nice for mentors, who have a refreshing break with a child in the middle of their workday or their errands, and can see what an enormous difference they’re making. When children, mentors, and schools do better, communities do better too.
We are always recruiting new mentors, and this is the time when we are especially looking for folks for the fall. Check out our website, everybodywinsvermont.org, and consider signing up to read with a child if we have a school near you. And don’t hesitate to call or email if you have any questions about mentoring or about Everybody Wins! Vermont. We love talking with people about what we do.
Every August the North Face Race To The Top Of Vermont draws as many as 800 hikers, bikers, and runners from across the U.S. and Canada to climb Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. The course climbs up the historic Mansfield Toll Road, is 4.3 miles in length, and climbs 2564 ft. For some it’s all about trying to achieve a fast time up this tough 4.3 mile course. For others… they come to test themselves, and to enjoy the spectacular views.
No matter why you came, for everyone the North Face Race To The Top Of Vermont is about supporting the Catamount Trail Association and all of the good work they do. This event is their largest fundraising event of the year. So, while you’re out there challenging yourself, know that 100% of the money raised at this event goes to support the Catamount Trail and backcountry skiing and riding here in Vermont!
Haven’t registered yet? What are YOU waiting for, the race is only 21 days away! Get yourself registered for the race at www.rtttovt.com.
Interested in helping out behind the scenes? Volunteer at the RTTOVT to help us get all of our ducks in a row.