Literacy Group Celebrating @MayorEmanuel $12K

@MayorEmanuel choses charity for young writers

By Hannah Chanpong
|  Thursday, Mar 3, 2011  |  Updated 1:00 PM CDT
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The Real Emanuel to Fake Emanuel: Come Forward

youngchicagoauthors.org

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Debbi Welch didn’t know Dan Sinker.

She certainly didn’t know the man behind @MayorEmanuel’s tweets would bring in $12,000 for Young Chicago Authors, a teen literary and performance program.

“It’s a gift from the gods,” said Welch, the non-profit’s board president.

During an on-air meeting with Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday, "twimpersonator" Sinker chose Young Chicago Authors to receive $5,000 from Emanuel.

The mayor-elect pledged last month to make a donation to the @MayorEmanuel writer's charity of choice after the then-anonymous Tweeter was identified. An article published Monday in The Atlantic took care of that, and the two men agreed to meet on The Roe Conn Show with Richard Roeper.

There, Emanuel made good on his promise. Online charity portal Causes.com matched his donation, and Conn and Roeper threw in $1,000 each to bring the gift’s total to $12,000.

“This can do nothing but add and help serve more kids,” Welch said.

Chicago Youth Author's after-school literacy program serves about 3,000 teen students every year. It has grown from offering one writing program in 1991 to publishing a magazine and hosting weekly open-mike nights, poetry contests and trips to theaters.

Welch said she hopes the group can extend its reach further.

"We all know what we have, but we try as hard as we can to let other people know," she said. "We don't want the accolades. We want the word out so we can serve these kids."

Welch enrolled her own son and daughter in the program years ago. While admitting her bias, she describes Chicago Youth Authors as a "safe" and "wonderful" place for writers and performers.

“We don’t just give these kids a voice,” she said. “We give these kids a community. There are kids from Englewood to the North Shore and everywhere in between.”

“This morning, there's going to be a lot of dancing,” Welch said.

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