The Power of the Written Word

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s Ladies for Literacy Guild hosts the third annual Power of Literacy Luncheon: Let’s Launch Literacy

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Photos by Jenny Antill and Daniel Ortiz

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The Celebration

The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston welcomed 600 guests to the third annual Power of Literacy Luncheon: Let’s Launch Literacy hosted by The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s Ladies for Literacy Guild. Former First Lady Laura Bush was the keynote speaker. Pierce Bush was the conversation moderator and featured speakers were Dr. Tom Pace, senior pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church; Cathy Cleary, the Power of Literacy Luncheon chair; and Stephanie Tsuru, the president of the Ladies for Literacy Guild. Rachel McNeill, KPRC-TV anchor, emceed the event.      

             

The Story

The lobby and grand ballroom of The Post Oak Hotel were decorated with over 150 balloons, in keeping with the luncheon’s theme of launching literacy. Ablaze with multi-colored floral centerpieces, each table featured an 18-inch cut-out of former First Lady Barbara Bush holding balloons. On the stage, a life-size cut-out of Barbara Bush also held bright balloons. The delicious lunch was catered by The Post Oak Hotel and featured white chocolate and macerated berry cheesecake for dessert.

The Moments

Emcee, Rachel McNeill, addressed the importance of reading saying it is a fundamental right of everyone. She also thanked Phillips 66 for serving as the event’s Title Sponsor for the third year in a row and expressed appreciation to Cathy and Joe Cleary for serving as this year’s Literacy

Champions.

The highlight of the program was a fireside chat with former First Lady Laura Bush moderated by  Pierce Bush, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star. A variety of topics were discussed. Mrs. Bush thanked everyone in attendance for supporting the foundation, which she said nourishes families and children in Houston.

Stephanie Tsuru announced the launch of the First Lady’s Book Club within the Ladies for Literacy Guild as well as a special gift of $75,000 from Houston Children’s Charity to jump-start the guild’s efforts to build another Curiosity Cruiser mobile library.

This year’s raffle items were: a pearl necklace donated by Tenenbaum Jewelers and won by Diane Englet, a pincushion hand made by former First Lady Barbara Bush and won by Courtney Golden, and a set of limited-edition Houston Astros World Champion bats donated by BASF Corporation and won by Robin Mitchell.  

Over $350,000 was raised by the event to help support the guild’s activities and literacy initiatives.

Guests: Pierce and Sarabeth Bush, Maria Bush, Marshall Bush, Julie Baker Finck, Joe and Cathy Cleary, Betty Hrncir, Stephanie Tsuru, Sue and Lester Smith, Linda McReynolds, Laurel D’Antoni, Paige Fertitta, Susan Sarofim, Sidney Faust, Cora Sue Mach, Leisa Holland Nelson, Warner Roberts, Senator Joan Huffman, Diane Lokey Farb, Joanne King Herring, and Gwen Emmett.

About the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation is a charitable organization formed by Neil and Maria Bush to carry forth First Lady Barbara Bush’s legacy in the literacy cause and to focus deeply on breaking the intergenerational cycle of low literacy in the Bush family’s hometown. Founded on Mrs. Bush’s belief, “If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless,” the Barbara Bush Foundation’s mission is to improve lives through the power of literacy: the ability to read, write, speak clearly, and think critically.

For more information, please visit www.bushhoustonliteracy.org  or follow the foundation on

Facebook at www.facebook.com/bushhoustonliteracy, on Twitter @bushhoustonlit, and on Instagram @bushhoustonlit

About the Ladies for Literacy Guild

The Ladies for Literacy Guild is a volunteer auxiliary group that supports the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. Led by President Stephanie Tsuru, this dynamic assemblage of women is committed to carrying forth Barbara Bush’s legacy in literacy. It also supports the foundation’s mission to improve lives through the power of literacy: the ability to read, write, speak clearly, and think critically.

To learn more about the Ladies for Literacy Guild, please visit www.bushhoustonliteracy.org/ladiesforliteracy/

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