News and Events

Reading Partners Announces Excellence in Volunteering Award to Honor Melody McCutcheon

May 23, 2018  By HCMP Law Offices

Reading Partners Seattle, a nonprofit organization that places community volunteers in low-income schools to help children master basic reading skills, has announced the creation of an Excellence in Volunteering Award in honor of Melody McCutcheon, who passed away unexpectedly in November 2017. Melody was a senior principal at Seattle law firm Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson P.S., and a committed volunteer for the organization.

The new award, entitled the “Melody McCutcheon Excellence in Volunteering Award,” recognizes a Reading Partners volunteer who exemplifies many of the amazing qualities shown by Melody — dedication, dependability, thoughtfulness, and exceptional passion for their student and the program.

Said Reading Partners Seattle Interim Executive Director Cassy Charyn, “Melody was actually our very first volunteer to sign up at Highland Park Elementary, and immediately made an impact with how she was able to connect with her student. But Melody didn’t only volunteer with us… she actually reached out saying she wanted to do more, as if the hour-long commute she made from her home all the way up north down to one of our highest need schools in White Center in the height of rush hour and then to a full work day wasn’t enough. So, last spring, she joined our Board, and was an incredible advocate and champion for Reading Partners in that capacity as well.  She never missed a meeting or event, and her thoughtfulness and passion was unmatched.”

In designing this new award, Reading Partners Seattle solicited from site coordinators nominations for volunteers who exhibited the tutor qualities shown by Melody. The inaugural 2018 honor, recently awarded at the organization’s annual luncheon, was given to Michael Perera, a freelance writer and public speaking coach.

Charyn added, “While it was bittersweet to present the award because of the unexpected loss of one of our most incredible volunteers and Board members, it was an honor to be able to present this award in Melody’s memory and ensure that her legacy lives on. “

Without strong literacy skills, students face ongoing challenges in their education. Today, in Washington State, three out of four 4th graders from low-income families are reading below proficiency for their grade level. Reading Partners Seattle’s one-on-one tutoring model empowers students to succeed in reading and in life by engaging community volunteers to provide individualized, personal attention to each student in its program.  By partnering with parents, teachers, school and community leaders in Seattle, we’re working toward a future where every child has the individualized support they need to become strong readers and lifelong learners. For more information, click here: