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La Vida Scholars will celebrate literacy in Lynn

LYNN — The Excellence in Literacy Leadership Awards (ELLA) will be given to Cary Schuman, of the Lynn Journal, and Sister Linda Bessom, who recently retired from Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, at the sixth annual Celebrate Literacy Day’s reception on Wednesday.

La Vida Scholars will be the honored beneficiary during the event, receiving a scholarship raised by a group of volunteers.

Schuman and Bessom will receive proceeds to be given to their charity of choice. They were chosen for the award for their consistent efforts in promoting literacy throughout Lynn.

“What we are trying to do as a committee, and for the whole spirit of the event itself, is create a group of financial institutions that come together to help nonprofits in Lynn doing phenomenal things with literacy in the city,” said Debra Lee Surface, Executive Committee member for Celebrate Literacy Day.

Surface, also the marketing manager at St. Jean’s Credit Union in Lynn, has been on the committee since the organization’s inception six years ago.

“As a credit union, we felt this was a great cause, being able to promote awareness of great things happening in the city and to help organizations that really need this support,” said Surface.

She personally nominated Bessom for an ELLA, given all her work for the Coalition’s A Bed for Every Child initiative. Surface said Bessom has put in countless hours of work promoting the program and bringing in the funding, which provides beds to children living in poverty.

“Bringing it back to literacy, without a good night’s sleep, our children can’t perform in a classroom,” said Surface.

Schuman, the second ELLA recipient, was nominated by another Celebrate Literacy Day committee member. Surface said the board recognized his efforts in always making sure the successes and accomplishments of the city’s youth are highlighted in his articles. She described Schuman as that quiet person in the background who consistently goes above and beyond for the community.

The Lynn Journal reporter even dedicates some of his personal time to showing off the triumphs of Lynn’s kids, according to Surface. He follows their careers well past college and into their adult lives, she said.

“Anywhere you go in Lynn or beyond, at any event, he is there covering it and making sure these stories are getting told,” said Surface. “He’s the unsung hero, everyone expects him to be there, but he never really gets recognized for it.”

The organization’s award reception is Wednesday, Aug. 29, on the rooftop of All Care VNA, at 210 Market Street. From 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., complimentary hors d’oeuvres, beer, and wine will be served. Tickets, $30 for general admission, or $250 for group of 10, can be purchased online.

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