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Rotary literacy projects

By Tom Noreen

Improving literacy is a major program of Rotary International. RI encourages each of the 33,790 clubs worldwide to participate in at least one literacy project. Your Cedar Springs Club annually sponsors the 5th grade Four Way Test essay, high school STRIVE mentor program, and Rotary Treasured Readers with the Head Start.

On May 5, the Club conducted its Student Awards night honoring the 10 high school students who completed the STRIVE program. The goal of the program is to encourage students with potential to improve their grades, attendance and attitude as identified by counselors Cindy Garnsey and Bonnie Hyder. The top student, Jade Mancarelli-Rincones, received a $1,000 scholarship. Jennifer Peuler and Tyler Smith were awarded a $500 scholarship. The Co-chairs Carolyn Davis and Denise Gates presented the remaining students completing the program a $100 savings bond.

The mentors/students are:

Cedar Springs High School: Michelle Andres/Tyler Smith; Cindy Baas/Alyssa; Dan Cavanaugh/Steven Polega; Donna Clark/Jade Mancarelli-Rincones; Penny Darling/Jennifer Peuler; Mike Gates/Jordan Johnson; Elizabeth Rose/Amanda Artecki; Denise Gates/Jennifer DeVoogd.

New Beginnings: Shelley Bauer/Jennifer Grindle; Dick Capek/Jacob Closser.

Don Stypula spoke on his experiences as a youth and the importance that mentors made in his life. Don is the Executive Director of the Grand Valley Metro Council.

The Club also honored the families that hosted our exchange student, Giovana Piam. Brian and Cherryl Rosenberger and Dan and Anna Bekins did a super job of making Gi feel at home.

The following Wednesday, May 12, the Club served pizza to the North Kent Headstart kids and their families celebrating the conclusion of the Rotary Treasured Readers Program. During the course of the year, Rotary Club members, spouses, friends, and others read to the kids individually three times per week. The goal was to have read at least ten books to each of the 100 kids enrolled in the program.

Program director Ann Pratt, said, “The kids look forward to listening to someone read a book to them. It is a great way for them to know that there are other people who are kind and friendly in the world.” Each student received a book from the Club and a Big Boy gift certificate from Co-Chairs Denise Gates and Donna Clark.

Headstart is moving this summer to the former Sunshine Fields Day Care on White Creek Avenue. Pratt said the renovated facility will give them four class rooms.

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