Literacy Center names event honorees

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The Literacy Center of West Michigan (LCWM) named three community leaders to be recognized at its annual fundraiser in March.

The 29th annual Spellebration Award recipients were selected based on their commitment to literacy and education and their dedication to bringing about a just and vibrant West Michigan. Minnie Morey, executive director, West Michigan Asian American Association (WMAA), will receive the Champion of Literacy Award; Latesha Lipscomb, director of community engagement and relationships, Amplify GR, will receive the Ledy Award for Community Engagement; and Stephen Osborn, a LCWM tutor, will receive the Marshall Pitler Volunteer of the Year Award.

The award ceremony will be held 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, at the Bissell Tree House at John Ball Zoo, 1300 W. Fulton St. in Grand Rapids. Livestreams will be on Facebook and YouTube.

Morey’s advocacy for the needs of Asian Americans in Michigan focuses on education, economic development, health care and social justice. Morey serves as a board member for Arbor Circle, a member of the Community Inclusion Group for the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention Area Authority and a volunteer working with United Way’s investment council.

She also is the instructor and choreographer for the Pacific Island Dancers, a performing dance group specializing in cultural dances from Hawaii, Tahiti and the Philippines.

Wendy Falb, executive director, LCWM, said Morey is a fierce advocate for literacy and continues to be a leader in providing literacy support to Asian Americans.

“For decades, Minnie has championed the rich gifts brought to West Michigan by the immigrants and refugees from Asian countries,” Falb said. “Knowing that these new Americans face many hurdles in fully realizing their potential, Minnie helps to remove as many barriers as possible. In the process, she creates important connections between multiple communities and raises awareness of the cultural and economic contributions of our new community member(s).”

Lipscomb manages Amplify GR’s daily engagement efforts, executing community events and working closely with neighbors and local leaders to advance neighborhood priorities.

“Latesha Lipscomb is a West Michigan change agent with a passion for strengthening the Grand Rapids community by lifting up residents’ voices, building leadership capacity in neighborhoods and empowering communities of color,” Falb said.

Osborn has tutored two students, one from Rwanda and one from Mexico, at the center for more than seven years. The son of missionary parents who created a writing system for the local language in a remote village in South Africa, Osborn offers a unique perspective with linguistics and literacy for the center.

“As a retired IT tech analyst, Stephen Osborn has been very willing to go above and beyond his role as a tutor, helping our organization with tech issues, including identifying a more effective solution for testing learners remotely during the height of the pandemic,” Falb said.

Tickets and more information are here.

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