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Ambassadors for literacy
Feb. 28, 2011

Dassel Ambassador Program puts more books into the classroom

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

DASSEL, MN – Few can deny how important literacy is in the education of a child, which is why the Dassel Ambassador Program and the Cokato Lions Club are teaming up to put even more books into the classroom.

Each year, the current Dassel ambassadors select a community focus. This year’s ambassadors, Lauren Menke and Kristen Haider have chosen to focus on literacy among the community’s younger kids through the Dassel Ambassadors’ Literacy Campaign.

The initial goal of the campaign is to purchase 20 books, one for each classroom at Dassel Elementary, as well as the media center.

The books selected to purchase will be written by Minnesota authors and will go along with Dassel Elementary’s “Fill Your Bucket” theme this year.

“We chose Minnesota authors to support our kids realizing that they, too, could author books if they want to,” said Mary Neu, Dassel Ambassador Program chair, adding that it’s another way to support the larger community by inspiring kids to reach for whatever it is they want to do. Neu is also the volunteer coordinator for Dassel Elementary.

Neu explained that the school’s theme this year, “Fill Your Bucket,” is an effort to teach students to be a “bucket-filler,” sharing positive words and deeds with others, rather and a “bucket dipper,” by negative words and actions.

Also, as part of the literacy program, ambassadors will be visiting each classroom to read the donated book to the students, where it will then remain.

Dassel Elementary Principal Debbie Morris is very excited that the ambassadors have chosen to make literacy and youth their focus.

“It speaks volumes for these young ladies,” she said, noting that it was a well-thoughout process that will engage children and instill a passion in them for reading.

Red Rooster Rocker for Reading

There will also be a summer reading component to the Dassel Ambassador Literacy campaign to help keep children interested in reading during summer break.

For this, the ambassadors will read once a week to children at a local park. Community members will also be encouraged to become involved in reading to young people, according to Neu.

For the summer reading program, they wanted to use something that would be easily visible for attendees, Neu said.

That is where the Red Rooster Rocker for Reading comes into play.

The Cokato Lions Club donated a rocking chair for readers to sit on, which was painted red by the Menke family.

“We wanted something nice and visible,” Neu said.

When the Cokato Lions Club heard about the reading program and the donated chair, “They were all over it,” said Cokato Lion Mark Redman, who also has a daughter who participated in the ambassador program a few years back.

The Cokato Lions Club was more than willing to participate in the program because of the importance reading has for kids, Redman said.

Chili feed Sunday

The Cokato Lions Club is also helping the literacy program as they co-host a chili feed Sunday, March 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum. The cost is $5.

Raffle tickets, for a chance to win two Trek children’s bikes, are $2 each. Raffle tickets can be purchased either at the chili feed or by calling Mary at (320) 275-2085.

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