Sincere thanks to everyone who attended Get Lit on May 12th 2011 in the Appel Salon in the Toronto Reference Library.
Special thanks to our stellar readers as well as all of our sponsors, patrons, donors and volunteers.
Donations can still be made here on our site.
Get Lit is a unique annual fundraising event where a lineup of notable and inspiring Canadians read and discuss an excerpt from a piece of writing that they consider meaningful.
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 1400 underprivileged children across Canada.
Get Lit was recently covered by the Globe and Mail. Click here to view the article.
Romina Fontana is a thirty-four-year old Montreal native who moved to Toronto from Paris seven years ago. Inspired by Canadian poet Al Purdy’s famously intense and comic read- ings, Romina decided to create a unique event where notable Canadians could share an in- spiring 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. The film starred Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip and was selected by Bravo!FACT, the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and the BBC. She is also a founding board member of Film North – Muskoka’s first international film festival and a trustee of Lakefield College School. Professionally, Romina is a consultant in the advertising, marketing and design sectors. She recently advised Torstar on the partnerships and brand strategy for a start-up in the wine lifestyle category.
The Start2Finish (formerly KidsFest) Running & Reading Club is a unique, life-changing program offered to children living at or below the poverty line. This high impact program helps to improve academic achievement, physical fitness and social interaction among participants, equipping each child to achieve their full potential and become a valuable contributor within their respective community and the nation.
One of Start2Finish's most innovative initiatives, the Running & Reading Club after-school program was launched under the directorship of former Olympian and Canadian marathon record holder, Silvia Ruegger. Operating directly within inner city schools, it effectively addresses the need for enhanced literacy and physical activity among the hundreds of economically challenged children it services. The program runs one afternoon per week for two hours throughout the school year, from the beginning of October to the end of May, at multiple school locations across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver. Each club accommodates approximately 50-60 children.
Through fitness activities, mentorship, and literacy support, this 32-week adventure helps children to improve their physical, mental, emotional and social health and develop a love of reading. Students spend the first 45 minutes of each weekly session in physical activity, which includes circuit training, running-based games and relays. This is followed by a 20-minute character building component and snack time. An inspirational "word of the day", is shared by one of the team leaders and the group is invited to hear a story and participate in a discussion about this special word. The children then enjoy a nutritious snack and beverage. The next 45 minutes are devoted to improving the children's literacy skills. Each child keeps track of their progress in physical fitness and reading through a journal. They then choose books categorized according to reading levels, and read either on their own, with another student, or with the help of a volunteer. Just before the children are dismissed, those children who show great effort and attitudes are acknowledged by their team leaders.
The Running & Reading Club also incorporates several special opportunities as part of the program for economically-challenged students. In addition to celebrations such as the annual Start2Finish Holiday Celebration at a movie theatre and sports game outings, the program culminates in a 5km race, as well as a jeopardy-style reading challenge and an awards ceremony, affirming each child’s achievement at the end of the school year.
The nurturing environment created at these after-school clubs helps to build confidence and discipline within the children, giving them hope to believe for future success. Start2Finish’s dedicated matrix of community volunteers forms a key part of the program. Acting as role models and mentors, this rich and diverse community of coaches play a key role as challengers and encouragers to children in need, creating a hyperbaric chamber of hope that enables them to pursue and achieve goals.
Program requests from communities nationwide flood the Start2Finish (formerly KidsFest) Head Office, and the organization desires to respond to the desperate needs of children throughout Canada. As support and sponsorship of the program grows, Start2Finish is making preparations to extend the program into every Canadian province and territory.
For further information, or to get involved, please visit the Start2Finish website at www.start2finishonline.org or contact the Running & Reading Club Executive Administrator, Lina Balsamo, at 1-888-320-8844 ext. 202.
Sincere thanks to everyone who purchased tickets and donated to the cause in 2011.
Additional donations can be made here with PayPal.
Cheques can be made payable to "Start2Finish" and sent to: