Announcing the sixth Get Lit event — a compelling evening of literature and conversation led by a unique line-up of notable Canadians who will share and discuss a piece of writing that has inspired them to achieve their own success.
All funds raised go to The Running & Reading Club, an after-school program that effectively addresses the benefits of literacy and physical activity for children living in poverty. The program currently services over 1,600 underprivileged children across Canada.
Get Lit was founded by Romina Tina Fontana. Inspired by Canadian poet Al Purdy’s famously intense and comic readings, Romina decided to create a unique event where notable Canadians could share a piece of literature with an audience. Shortly thereafter, she was introduced to Silvia Ruegger — former Olympian, Canadian marathon record holder, and founder of The Running & Reading Club. After hearing more about Silvia’s remarkable story and the life-changing success that the Club creates, Romina knew she had found her cause. As a result, the inaugural Get Lit event was held in the summer of 2005.
Over the past ten years, Romina has embarked on numerous creative projects, including a short film based on Al Purdy’s poem “At the Quinte Hotel” in 2002 and helping to create and launch Film North, Muskoka’s first international film festival. Professionally, Romina is a consultant in the advertising, marketing, and design sectors.
The Running & Reading Club is a 32-week after-school program that effectively addresses the need for enhanced literacy and physical activity among economically challenged children in the communities it services. The Club was founded by the amazing Silvia Ruegger, former Canadian Olympic athlete who competed in the first women’s Olympic marathon in Los Angeles in 1984.
The Running & Reading Clubs operate directly within local inner city schools, and run for two hours per week from October to June. The program takes children on an "adventure" that improves their physical, mental, emotional, and social health, fostering discipline, goal-setting, and literacy. These are all areas that statistics have continually shown to be lacking among high-needs elementary-aged children.
Each week, children build their strength and endurance through running and fitness activities, receive individualized assistance in both reading and writing, and are given a balanced, energy-filled snack. The program culminates in our Start2Finish 5 Km Running & Reading Challenge and an awards ceremony recognizing each child’s achievement at the end of the school year.
Voted Toronto's Hottest Chef in 2012, Chef Jo Lusted is a Toronto icon known for creative recipes and delicious, sin-free foods. A prolific advocate for great eating that fits a healthy lifestyle, she is resident chef and contributing editor for Clean Eating magazine, author of the cookbook Dish Do-Over (HarperCollinsCanada; on-sale April 5, 2014; $24.99 CAN), co-host of Compete to Eat on Cottage Life TV, regular contributing expert on CBC's Steven & Chris, and has contributed to Canadian Living, Fresh Juice and Oxygen magazines, foodnetwork.ca and Good Food Revolution.
Jo has traveled extensively for her love of food. From corporate chef of a restaurant in the Dominican Republic, to the chef for Indy Car racing teams and as a spokesperson at countless trade shows across North America, Jo brings infectious energy, enthusiasm, and charisma to all her projects and events.
An advocate of living a balanced, healthy lifestyle, Jo believes in unpretentious food, and has a unique down-to-earth approach to cooking. Jo Lusted currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, loves to travel, and is always on the hunt for a food-driven adventure.