Having the ability to read and write is something most may take for granted, but some in the community haven’t had the opportunity to develop literacy.
REACH for Literacy is a small non-profit organization in the area. This year they will be hosting the 5th Annual Brewhaha on March 30 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Museum of Visual Materials.
“At REACH, we teach adults to read, write and improve life skills. Many of our learners only communicate orally. We thought it would be great to support REACH using the oral format, hence storytelling,” said executive director Paige Carda.
The Brewhaha fundraiser is a beer tasting and storytelling event. Single tickets cost $40, couples tickets cost $75, and it’s $300 for a table of eight. Attendees will have appetizers and sample around 12 beers and four wines. There will also be a raffle of book-themed baskets.
Carda says the event will consist of four to five storytellers speaking for about 10 minutes. Each year covers a different topic; this year’s topic is “aha” in Brewhaha.
“Meaning what or when was that ‘aha’ moment when you knew reading would or could change your life? Or how did reading impact your life, and now you see the ‘aha’ in that,” she said.
The storytellers are people from the community who the organization knows through others or are those they know with stories to tell. Some learners have spoken in the past, if they’re comfortable.
Carda says people love the event because they get to hear the stories people have to tell. The stories range from humorous to sad to meaningful. Carda says they only ask for one thing of the storytellers.
“We ask that they be true,” said Carda.
Ron Krumm, a learner at REACH, has found success through the organization, which helped not only with reading and learning, but with his alcohol addiction as well.
Ron says he was a middle-school dropout who felt like he didn’t get a lot of help when he was in school.
“I decided I needed to learn how to read,” he recalled. “I think my drinking problem had a lot to do with it. I needed to take care of that, too.”
Ron started at REACH in the fall of 2014, and started working with a tutor for several months. He says he can read more readily and has expanded his vocabulary. Ron works at Denny’s and has seen his literacy improve his job.
“I used to go to the cooler and pick out what I needed by pictures or by looking at things. Now I can read the labels. I can read the tickets coming through the kitchen,” said Krumm. “I’m grateful I found REACH. I’m happier than I have been in years, and I think it’s because of the program, because I’m learning to read.”
REACH is only made up of a few employees, board members, and volunteer tutors, but Brewhaha allows them to show the big difference they’re making and connect with the community at large.
“What makes this so different from other events is that there isn’t another event that incorporates storytelling into their fundraiser,” said Carda. “We believe literacy isn’t just reading; it’s writing, it’s improving life skills, and storytelling is one facet of literacy.”
For more info, visit reachliteracy.org or call (605) 332-2665.
Museum of Visual Materials
500 N Main Ave
Sioux Falls, S.D.
$300 table of eight