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 What is the Read to Me Tea Coloring Contest?
In 2005, Read to Me Tea was launched as a celebration of our clients, some of whom are not always recognized in their schools for their unique talents and abilities.
Art is important to many aspects of development and is a way that all children can participate. Throughout the first part of the year, our clients create artwork based around a theme. This year’s them? Jungle Adventure! In May, we show off their art gallery style to their families and other attendees at the Read to Me Tea Celebration. The joy and pride beam on the children’s faces as they show off their hard work.

Artist Amir takes a picture with his art and family.

This is more than an art show, it’s also an important advocacy event. Read to Me Tea is attended by local and state legislators. They and familes from our community are able to come together in a relaxed environment to. Children are able to see governmental officials in person at their level, instead of on-line or on TV, and their caregivers are able to connect with them and ask questions. A simple art show could encourage some to take the path of community or governmental involvement. Or, at the very least, show children that they matter in our electoral processes and foster a generation of voters.

We started our 17th annual Read to Me Tea with opening remarks from CTC Development Director, Nicholette Driggs and Executive Director, Summer Wright. Followed by a long time friend of CTC, Grand Rapids Mayor, Rosalynn Bliss.

Mayor Bliss gives her opening remarks.

After opening remarks, our special guests took pictures, chatted and read stories to the children. This year’s event readers included Representative Peter Meijer,  Representative Tommy Brann, Representative Rachel Hood, Senator Stabenow’s Regional Manager Mary Judnic, Senator Gary Peters’ West Michigan Regional Coordinator Julian Sanders,  Grand Valley State University Professor Griffin, and Diversity & Inclusion for Warner Norcross & Judd, Mandice MacAllister.  Each artist was able to get their picture taken with,  have their award certificate signed by, and read a story with all of the attendees!

Representative Tommy Brann reads with artist Gordy.

At the end of the event, artists took home their framed artwork and a gift bag filled with a free book, greeting cards of their art and other goodies.

Thank you to these generous sponsors who helped make this event happen:

Books & Mortar

Hopscotch Children’s Store

Troost Service Company

Warner Norcross  + Judd

… and to the amazing:

Steenstra’s Royal Dutch Bakery  for providing us with adorable jungle animal cookies. Rooftop Proven Products for providing potted plants for participants to take home. Sweet House Foundation  for providing us a beautiful space for the event. WAM for printing out all those greeting cards.

Click through the gallery below to see how the event went!