Celebrations: Walnut Creek girl reads for a good cause: English literacy in Israel

Cayla Quinn loves reading so much that when she heard about a readathon organized by the Israeli nonprofit Ahava — a group dedicated to English literacy promotion among disadvantaged children — she didn’t have to think twice: She’d found her bat mitzvah project.

Cayla Quinn

Never mind that the event was taking place in Israel.

The seventh-grader, whose family belongs to Congregation B’nai Shalom in Walnut Creek, is the first-ever participant  in the annual 

readathon to take part from abroad. In Israel, hundreds of schoolchildren get sponsored to read as many English books as they can over the course of a month, with the funds going toward education and literacy outreach.

“I love reading, and I love the idea of helping other kids learn,” says Quinn, who will have her bat mitzvah on June 16. She adds that she found out about the nonprofit herself, while searching the Internet for possible bat mitzvah projects.

“It just made sense,” says the 12-year-old student at Stone Valley Middle School in Alamo. She has kept in touch with Ahava officials over the course of her fundraiser, updating them by email about her progress.

As of May 10, Quinn had raised just over $800 by reading — but was expecting a nice increase over the next week, as Extreme Pizza in Alamo offered to donate 20 percent of its proceeds from one evening, May 14, to Quinn’s cause.

“It’s been phenomenal to watch,” said Caryn Quinn, Cayla’s mother. “On a personal level we’ve gotten to know some of the folks at Ahava through this, and they’re so thankful — it means so much that just one person decided to help. One person, a few hundred dollars, can buy a lot of supplies and books for kids who really need it.” — emma silvers

Emma Silvers

Emma Silvers is a former J. staff writer.