The Shepherdstown Rotary Club has awarded its annual "Rotary Reads" grant jointly to the town's Public Library and Day Care Center.
The grant is for $500. The funds will be used to help expand the Day Care Center's "Book in a Bag" program, which is a collaborative effort with the Library. The program is aimed at encouraging Day Care Center parents to read to their children on a regular basis at home.
The children get a take-home bag that includes an age-appropriate book and other materials. For younger children, these materials include toys and activities related to the book's theme; older children get a reading journal.
Parents receive an information packet that includes tips for reading to children at various developmental stages, an overview of the benefits of reading to children, a "read aloud" contract and a library-card application for each child.
Books are selected by the Library's Children's Librarian, and the bags are assembled and distributed by Day Care Center staff.
The Friends of the Shepherdstown Library has pledged to match the Rotary grant with a $500 grant of its own, bringing the total funds available for the program expansion to $1,000. This will be enough to expand the program to reach all 82 children currently enrolled at the Day Care Center.
The Rotary Club announced the award at its March 25 weekly breakfast meeting at the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown.
Present to receive the award were Lillian Bauer, the Library's Children's Librarian and Melissa Holman, director of the Day Care Center.
The accompanying photo shows, from left to right, Shepherdstown Rotary Club President Paul Woods, Ms. Holman, Ms. Bauer and the Club's Vocational Service Committee Chair Peter Smith.
The Shepherdstown Rotary Club's "Rotary Reads" grant program is one of several Club activities aimed at enhancing literacy among local children. It consists of a cash grant, awarded each year during March, to worthy institutions for projects or programs that promote reading.
Enhancing literacy has been a major priority of Rotarians since their organization's founding in 1905, and the month of March is recognized as "Literacy Month" on the Rotary calendar.