Gazette Opinion: Summer programs feed young minds and bodies

2010-06-07T00:05:00Z Gazette Opinion: Summer programs feed young minds and bodiesGazette staff The Billings Gazette
June 07, 2010 12:05 am  • 

The end of classes shouldn’t be the end of reading and learning for Billings students. Popular summer reading programs will soon return with opportunities for children, teens and adults to participate.

Library reading

At Parmly Billings Library, this year’s summer free reading program adds reading activities for adults. Of course, the library also will continue its longstanding array of summer activities and programs for children and teens. Participants can win prizes while enjoying great reads and fun events. Registration begins today and the program runs through July 12. More information on the summer reading program is available at the library and on the city of Billings website, which is linked to this Gazette opinion at billingsgazette.com. Remember: The library is open Monday through Saturday but closed on Sundays till fall.

Reading Rocks volunteers

Reading Rocks is recruiting volunteers to read with children at lunchtime in Billings parks. The Education Foundation for Billings Public Schools organizes this program. Its first session runs June 21 to July 8; the second is July 12 through July 29. Teen and adult volunteers are needed for both sessions. Volunteers attend a training session and are asked to be available for at least three lunchtime readings. The reading events will be:

• Mondays and Wednesdays in North Park

• Tuesdays and Thursdays in Central Park

• Mondays at Crow-Arrowhead Park

• Thursdays at South Park

Each session starts at 12:15 p.m. Volunteers are asked to be available from noon to 1 on the days they are reading.

At each free, lunchtime reading event, a storyteller or special presenter will read aloud to a group of students. Then volunteers will listen to individual children read and help each child choose a book and a prize to take home, according to Krista Hertz, foundation executive director.

Brief applications for volunteers along with other program information is available at the link with this Gazette opinion at billingsgazette.com. Prospective volunteers also may call the foundation at 245-4133.

Meanwhile, parents with children who are pre-K through sixth grade are invited to mark their calendars and plan on taking their children to these fun, educational readings.

Free children’s lunches

Reading Rocks is also nutritious! The reading program is held at sites where free children’s lunches are served. The School District 2 lunch program operates from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. every weekday beginning June 16 and ending Aug. 13, according to Steve Harris of Sodexo, the district’s food service contractor. The lunches are served in Pioneer Park, Gorham Park, North Park, South Park, Central Park and Crow-Arrowhead Park and the Boys & Girls Club on Orchard Lane.

Any child under age 18 is welcome to enjoy a free meal at the lunch sites, Harris said. There are no forms to fill out and no advance registration. The summer program is an extension of the regular school lunch program, with the aim of ensuring that children have healthy meals when school’s out.

Harris, who has operated the program for more than a dozen years, expects it will serve more than 26,000 meals this summer — more than 600 a day. For more information on the summer lunch program, call 281-5878 or 281-5880.

Good lunches and good books. What a great combination for a summer’s day and a great opportunity for caring community volunteers to help.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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