GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – February 22, 2022 – The Literacy Center of West Michigan will recognize three community leaders at its 29th annual Spellebration event on March 23 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Bissell Tree House at John Ball Zoo. Minnie Morey, executive director, West Michigan Asian American Association (WMAAA), will receive the Champion of Literacy Award sponsored by Comerica. Latesha Lipscomb, director of engagement and relationships, AmplifyGR, will receive the Ledy Award for Community Engagement. And Stephen Osborn, a Literacy Center of West Michigan tutor, will receive the Marshall Pitler Volunteer of the Year Award.
Honorees are selected based on their commitment to literacy and education and their dedication to bringing about a just and vibrant West Michigan.
As the executive director of the WMAAA, Minnie Morey advocates for the needs of Asian Americans in Michigan, with a focus on education, economic development, health care and social justice. She currently serves as a board member for Arbor Circle, a United Way volunteer working with the Investment Council and a member of the Community Inclusion Group for the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention Arena Authority. Minnie is also the instructor and choreographer for the Pacific Island Dancers, a performing dance group specializing in cultural dances from Hawaii, Tahiti and the Philippines.
“Minnie Morey is a fierce advocate for literacy and continues to be a leader in providing literacy support to Asian American members of our community,” said Dr. Wendy Falb, executive director, Literacy Center of West Michigan. “For decades, Minnie has championed the rich gifts brought to West Michigan by the immigrants and refugees from Asian countries. 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 members.”
As the director of engagement and relationships at Amplify GR, Latesha Lipscomb is responsible for managing day-to-day engagement efforts, executing community events and working closely with neighbors and local leaders to further uplift community 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,” Dr. Falb said.
With missionary parents who created a writing system for the local language in a remote village in South America, Stephen Osborn has a unique relationship with linguistics and literacy. Stephen has served as a Literacy Center of West Michigan tutor for more than seven years, tutoring two learners from Mexico and one from Rwanda.
“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,” Dr. Falb said.
Spellebration will be a hybrid event, with limited in-person tickets available for purchase. The event will also be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. Virtual tickets include an event gift bag with an assortment of locally sourced snacks and beverages. For more information about Spellebration and to purchase tickets, visit www.literacycenterwm.org/spellebration.