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Harris family hosts outdoor benefit for literacy project
Hostess Lucille Harris mingles at tables during Friday’s Great Valley Writing Project benefit social held at the rural Ripon home of Bill and Lucille Harris. - photo by HIME ROMERO
RIPON – Guests from Manteca, Ripon and Lathrop mingled under the stars and enjoyed fine food, wine and music Friday at the countryside home of Bill and Lucille Harris.

The al fresco event is the annual fund-raiser for the highly successful Great Valley Writing Project’s Literacy Programs and Workshops for Young Authors in the three South County cities. The state-chartered nonprofit group aims “to improve the learning and achievement of students by improving the teaching of writing,” according to an informational brochure describing what this group founded in 1983 is all about.

While the more than 300 guests who paid $65 each to help raise money for this literary cause mingled under the stars in a spacious grassy area surrounded by thick stands of Japanese maples, olives and almond trees, they were serenaded by a female singer accompanied by a live band.

Many of those in attendance were representatives of Great Valley Writing Project’s business supporters. They included Fonseca Farms, George Perry & Sons, Raymus Homes, Brocchini Farms and Save Mart Supermarkets.

Information about the accomplishments to date of the Great Valley Writing Project, as well as photographs taken at the different classroom workshops showing teachers and students alike in action, were available for guests to peruse at various corners of the entertainment and dinner area. Among the guests were San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore and Supervisor Leroy Ornelas. From the Ripon City Council was Councilman Dave Uecker. Manteca City Council was represented by Councilman Steve DeBrum.

In reaching its literacy goals, Great Valley Writing Project also partners with the San Joaquin County Office of Education which, among other contributions to the program, allows the use of its Goodwin School facility on North Main Street in Manteca.

Students and parents who are interested in obtaining detailed information about the writing programs offered by the organization can log on to the workshop web site at

Teachers and administrators, on the other hand, can obtain information about a variety of upcoming classes and events by logging on to the Great Valley Writing Project’s web site at

To continuously provide the above programs and activities to teachers and students, the organization relies on donations from the private sector. Those interested in making contributions to the project, or to obtain more information, can call (209) 667-3490.