Celebration of Reading 2012


12th Annual Celebration of Reading raises $1.8 million to support parents and children learning together!

(Be sure to view our Celebration 2012 video.)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush hosted the 12th Annual Celebration of Reading in mid-February, joined by family members and supporters who included former First Lady Barbara Bush, Doro Bush Koch and bestselling authors including Jeff Kinney, Greg Kincaid and Randall Wallace.

Governor Bush hosted his first Celebration of Reading in Florida in 2000 to raise funds for grass roots family literacy academies focused on providing families with a second chance at education – providing instruction to those who need to improve their English language, reading and writing skills.  Twelve years later, Jeb Bush and his sister, Doro Bush Koch, are taking a new role in their fight against illiteracy as the new co-chairs of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, now in its 22nd year.

“For years, Doro and I have been actively working to give parents a chance for a better life by improving their educational skills and becoming better teachers to their own children. We take on this leadership role ready to move family literacy forward through innovative ideas; programs focused on accountability and results and opportunities to make education exciting in this fast-paced world of digital learning.

“We are honored to carry on our mother’s incredible passion, working with her to bring educational opportunities to thousands and thousands more families in America for the next twenty years” said Doro Koch Bush.  “We recognize much more must be done to challenge the crippling impact of illiteracy and its direct tie to poverty.”

Governor Bush commended longtime Celebration supporters like Dollar General which plans to play a major role with the evolving Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy as the movement grows across the nation.  The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has already contributed more than $1.8 million to support literacy initiatives and college scholarships for the children of some of the most successful adult students. In addition, the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) marks its third year as a Celebration partner, donating higher education scholarships to the most deserving family literacy students.

Maria Segura was the featured Celebration student speaker.  As a scholarship recipient in 2009, her tuition and fees were covered to attend Southwest Florida College, a FAPSC member school. She becomes the first former family literacy student to graduate from college through the FAPSC partnership. In 2009, her two youngest children –Enrique and Anaelly—were also presented Florida Prepaid College Scholarships, thanks to funding from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

“From the time I stepped into my first college class, I knew I was meant to be a teacher – not the migrant farm worker I had always been,” said Segura.  “So I stand here today as the proud owner of a college diploma, plus I graduated with honors!  I earned my associate of science degree and am preparing to work toward my bachelor’s. Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without the incredible family literacy program that got me on the path to success.”

Special thanks to our Celebration host committee:

Statewide Honorary Host Committee for Celebration of Reading

Jeb Bush, Honorary Chair

Honorary Committee:

Carol Jenkins Barnett, Chairman and President of Publix Super Markets Charities

Romero Britto, International Pop Artist & Artistic Activist

Sandra and Jeb Bush Jr., Spokespersons for the Family Literacy Initiative

Tim Gage, Senior Vice President of Comcast

Senator Mike and Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, Florida Senate President, Education Advocates

Peter Jacobsen, PGA Tour Professional

Congressmen Connie and Mary Mack IV, Public Servants and Literacy Champions

Brad and Cori Meltzer, Best-Selling Author and Champions for Literacy

Kathleen Shanahan, State Board of Education

Art Smith, Award-Winning Chef & Philanthropist

Representative Will Weatherford, Incoming Florida House Speaker, Education Reformer


Celebration Hosts:

Tom & Ann Grady, Co-Chairs

Fred & Stephanie Pezeshkan, Co-Chairs

Samira K. Beckwith & Jim Sievers

Tom & Cheri Flood

Alan Florez

The Honorable Dudley & Barbara Goodlette

Laird A. & Laurie D. Lile

Anita Mitchell

Senator Garrett & Diana Richter

Raquel A. “Rocky” Rodriguez, Esq.

Jim Towey



For program or sponsor information contact:

Liza McFadden
Volunteer USA Foundation

For Celebration of Reading Sponsor and Ticket Sales Information Contact:

Tina Matte
Gravina Smith & Matte

Celebration of Reading – bringing the joy of literacy to families.