M-I Together funds 25 local projects

MONMOUTH-INDEPENDENCE -- Some children at Monmouth Elementary School might never own their own copy of "The Cat in the Hat."

That's too bad, Principal Bill Layton said. Children who own books are more likely to become lifelong readers.

Educators at Monmouth Elementary want to put more books in the hands of more children. Some help just arrived from Monmouth-Independence Together.

The group gave Monmouth Elementary's Read-Aloud program $800 to buy books.

Through the program, if a child reads for two months, he or she gets a book. To keep. Last year, between 300 and 400 books were given out.

The $800 will buy a lot more books. "This really helps children build their home libraries," Layton said.

"There are lot of kids who might not otherwise be able to have these books."

Reading was a big priority for Monmouth-Independence Together this year. Every year, the group gives out grants to organizations and programs that benefit kids.

The money comes from a variety of fund-raising activities, but a big chunk comes from the annual 24-Hour Relay at Western Oregon University.

This year, $11,350 was given out to 25 recipients. Six of the recipients were reading programs. A dozen more were sports or physical education related.

Another $500 will put books into the hands of children at Henry Hill Elementary. Mary Winter runs the after-school program which promotes literacy among both children and parents.

Parents come with their children and go through a book. Parents learn what questions to ask as well as activities to do, such as a puppet play.

Just in its first year, the program is in partnership with the Migrant Community Headstart next door to the school.

"We are very proud to be able to help fund such wonderful projects," said Monmouth-Independence Together President Mike Walsh.

"It was truly amazing to hear about each of the 25 projects we were able to fund. They are behind the scenes volunteers, regular folks with real jobs and kids and obligations who are going 150 percent to help the towns of Monmouth and Independence."

Following is a list of this year's recipients.

♦ The Read-Aloud program at Monmouth Elementary School, $800.

♦ The Eighth Grade Girls Basketball Tournament, $300.

♦ The Bilingual Summer Program, $500.

♦ The Central Baptist Church Community Recreation Complex, $500.

♦ The Central baseball/Central Youth Sports Baseball program, $400.

♦ The Central High School softball program, $300.

♦ Central High School girls soccer program, $300.

♦ Central Youth football program, $700.

♦ Central Youth Sports, $800.

♦ Central High Class of 2001, $500.

♦ The Henry Hill Elementary After-School Program, $500.

♦ The Independence Elementary physical education, $400.

♦ The Independence Elementary Read-a-Thon, $400.

♦ Intramural Panther sports, $300.

♦ Police Cadets, $500.

♦ Job's Daughters, $500.

♦ Lady Panthers, $300.

♦ Nite Court, $300.

♦ Panther Boys soccer, $300.

♦ RIOT Hoosier Mamas program, $300.

♦ The Raising Readers Program, $300.

♦ The Read Awhile Summer Reading Program, $250.

♦ Reading is Fundamental, $800.

♦ Talmadge Middle School After-School Program, $300.

♦ Talmadge Middle School Summer Fun Club, $500.

♦ We Be Jumping, $300.

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