This article was submitted by WGA member Michael Arkof. It runs today in Writers: On The Line, a weekly print newsletter distributed at picket locations.
Sabrina Batchler didn’t write the book on supporting the WGA strike, but she is reading one. Lots of them, actually. The eleven year-old is conducting a Read-a-thon to raise money for the Writers Guild Foundation, to help people put out of work by the strike.
The idea originated with Sabrina’s mother, writer Janet Batchler, who said she got the notion over the winter break. Since then, her daughter has read five books, going on six, for a total of about a thousand pages. By collecting pledges for her tireless reading, Sabrina has managed to raise more than a thousand dollars in contributions.
“Sabrina loves to read and was interested in the strike from the very beginning,” said Batchler, “So I thought why not combine the two.” Batchler explained that Read-a-thon pledges vary. Some pledge a penny per page, others pledge per book, while still others give a donation per month of reading.
In between turning the pages, Sabrina keeps a blog and sends out emails to her sponsors, updating them on the number of pages she’s read. The sponsors then mail out checks to the Foundation, which in turn allocates the funds to one of two locations (based on the pledge’s choice): the Industry Support Fund or the Actor’s Fund. (Ed. note: both these Funds are for non-writers who are out of work because of the strike.)
You might guess that Sabrina Batchler’s determination to help out writers stems from her own desire to become a writer someday. Not so, said the 5th grader. “I want to be a fashion designer rock star.”
This week in Sabrina’s elementary school, an announcement will go out to the entire student body advertising the Read-a-thon idea and asking other students to join. To enroll a child as a reader or to make a pledge, go to Sabrina's blog for more information.
Our thanks to Sabrina and all those like her who continue to help fundraise for non-WGA members affected by the strike. Her determination is inspiring.