Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New program will give books to preschoolers

Book Buddies also designed to honor memory of Marilyn Praisner

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The Montgomery Alliance for Community Giving wants to put books into the hands of preschool children and honor the legacy of the late County Councilwoman Marilyn J. Praisner at the same time.

‘‘A Sweets & Treats Celebration for Book Buddies” will be held 4-6 p.m. May 21 at Glenview Mansion in Rockville to mark the launch of Book Buddies, a campaign aimed at boosting early literacy by giving books to preschool children who are growing up without them.

The campaign was launched in honor of Praisner’s ‘‘passionate advocacy for children and her love of books and learning,” Book Buddies Chairwoman Lorraine Rogstad said.

Praisner, a Democrat who represented District 4 on the Montgomery County Council, died Feb. 1. She was in her fifth term on the council.

‘‘It just seemed like the perfect thing to do for Marilyn because of her long-standing advocacy to meet the needs of Montgomery County’s children — especially those who are most vulnerable,” Rogstad said.

Books donated at the event will be supplemented by those bought with financial donations. The books will be given to children and parents participating in early literacy programs through the Mental Health Association, Family Services Inc., Centro Familia, Crossway Community, the Lourie Center, Housing Opportunity Community Partners, Montgomery County Early Childhood Learning Parties and Head Start, Rogstad said.

Catherine Leggett, wife of County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), will speak about Praisner at 5 p.m. at next week’s fundraiser. Donald Praisner, widower of Marilyn Praisner, and his daughter, Alison Klumpp, will also say a few words to those attending the program, Rogstad said. The collected books will then be presented to the participating agencies and organizations.

‘‘I’m anticipating that we’ll be able to give 5,000 books to these agencies,” she said. ‘‘Everyone remembers their first book, so it’ll be fun to see what people bring.”

Montgomery Alliance for Community Giving was established three years ago by a group of citizen activists. Through its annual campaign, the organization provides opportunities for residents and businesses to invest in strengthening the community by financially supporting human service nonprofit agencies in the county, Rogstad said.

A sweet thing to do

‘‘A Sweets & Treats Celebration for Book Buddies” will be held 4-6 p.m. May 21 at Glenview Mansion, 603 Edmonston Drive in Rockville. Admission to the event is the donation of a new book for preschool children or a cash donation. Those planning to attend are asked to leave a message at 301-990-3005, send an e-mail to montgomery4alliance@comcast.net or send a reply to 1 Church St., Suite 204, Rockville, MD 20850.