From 2002 until 2008, Mom was an administrator for AmeriCorps in Alachua County, Florida. She managed this huge government program that worked to get books into the hands of underprivileged schoolchildren and create teams of young adults who’d work to help those children learn to read. She was tremendously proud of the work she did there and – although she was often forced to battle arcane red tape – she seemed to find the job very fulfilling. She was devastated when the program lost funding and she was laid off.

A couple of years after she started working there, the president of the company where I worked in LA was looking to make some charitable donations and I suggested AmeriCorps. He sent them some money and she wrote him the following letter of thanks, which I found folded into the pages of a book a decade after she died.