2023 Storybook Ball Highlights

November 2, 2023

United Through Reading’s 15th annual Storybook Ball was a big success. The gala took place in beautiful downtown San Diego, bringing together nearly corporate executives, senior military leaders, long-time supporters, and military families to celebrate United Through Reading and the military families who sacrifice so much for us every day.

Military Families’ Stories

Our military Guest of Honor was Acting Commander of Naval Surface Forces and Acting Commander, Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet, Rear Admiral Yvette Davids. Davids had the audience tearing recalling stories of how United Through Reading helped her and her shipmates’ families during times of separation and the impact our organization has on all military families. She said, “When we read to our children, we create a safe space where they can explore their emotions, ask questions, and find comfort; when we send our children recorded stories, when we can’t be there to read in person, we help soothe the longing our absence carries. United Through Reading truly gets this, that the act of reading and storytelling not only nurtures imaginations but sustains families and bridges the distance of long deployments.”

Navy spouse Crystal Bettenhausen-Bubulka shared her family’s connection to United Through Reading. Crystal serves as an advocate for Military Spouse Employment and military mental health. She attended the event with her husband, Commander Joseph Bubulka, and their three daughters. She said, “Books can provide self-care and act as a retreat from a busy world. The United Through Reading app enables children to connect with their loved ones no matter the distance. It also allows the parent or caregiver at home a moment. As a mother, I cannot tell you how precious 10 minutes can be during long underways and endless separations.”

Awards Presentations

The evening included a presentation of the Audrey Geisel Friend of Military Children Award to Boyogi author David Barclay Moore, who dedicated the book to his late father, Army veteran John Nathaniel Moore. Boyogi sheds a powerful spotlight on a difficult topic. When his daddy comes home from the service struggling with PTSD, a young boy discovers that learning yoga together can be a source of healing. Watch Moore talk about his inspiration for the book on the Candlewick Press site.

We presented San Diego-based Epsilon Systems with the Military Family Leadership Award for their commitment to ensuring military families are Mission Ready. While accepting the award, Bryan Min, CEO, shared his family’s story of time apart as an inspiration to continue supporting United Through Reading.

Thank You, Sponsors

This cornerstone event could not have happened without the support of our generous Operation Storytime sponsors, Reader’s Digest Foundation, BAE Systems, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Gillette Antiperspirant, Carter’s Charitable Foundation, and USAA. We would also like to thank Boeing, Buchanan Brand + Design, DAOU Family Estates, Epsilon Systems Solutions, Inc., General Atomics, JTMF Foundation, Kimberly-Clark, Navy Federal Credit Union, Northrop Grumman, Oshkosh Defense, Pilot Company, Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund, Sally Brown McInnes & John McInnes Charitable Trust, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, The Parker Foundation, The Patriots Connection, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, USS Midway Museum Foundation, Veterans United Foundation, Viasat.

Check out more photos from Storybook Ball 2023 at https://photos.utr.org/Events/2023-Events/Storybook-Ball-2023