For the past six years, Warder Literacy Center has partnered with local paint and sip shop Sip & Dipity Paint Bar for a fundraiser, and this year will be no exception.
Though the fundraiser – the Warder Winter Blahs Ladies Night with Sip & Dipity – will look a little different this year because of COVID-19, the organizers have found a way to make it safe and available to anyone interested in supporting the literacy center.
This year’s event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, will be both in person and online. Painters can choose an 18” wood cutout of either a rabbit or a carrot. Registration is $45 and is open through the Friday, Feb. 19, on the Sip & Dipity website.
“It’s a huge, fun event,” Warder Literacy Center Board Member Thalia Laventzis says. “Because of COVID, people will be able to spread out and be socially distanced, or they can get a kit to do it at home and log in through Zoom.”
The funds raised through the paint party will be used to provide tutoring services and materials to support the Warder clients.
The center tutors adults and children in reading, writing and math, and it offers English language classes.
During pre-COVID-19 times, Warder had about 40 tutoring pairs and about 24 people enrolled in English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. Currently the numbers are down to about half what they are on a typical year.
Laventzis says that while families can contact the center to seek help for their children, many of the student clients are usually referred to Warder by their schools. With pandemic health concerns and many schools teaching through hybrid or virtual models this school year, the center hasn’t received as many referrals as it usually would.
But just because there are fewer clients currently, doesn’t mean the need has diminished in the community – it only means the there is a lull in making the connection to help people in need of support.
So, fundraisers like this one and others planned for later in the year are an important part of funding the non-profit center’s ongoing needs, Laventzis says.
“One of my favorite events that I look forward to every year is the Warder fundraiser. Familiar faces, recognizable laughs, and everyone enjoying a great time together painting for a purpose in our community,” Sip & Dipity Owner Tracey Tackett says. “We always have a great time, and I love the center’s mission of helping people become comfortable with learning something new or developing a lifetime skill, which is something we pride ourselves on at Sip & Dipity with painting and crafting.
“It’s taking time to better ourselves and grow – something we should do our whole lives.”
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the date change of the event.