Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

Beating the heat by reading

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Nearly 200 children took refuge from summer’s sweltering heat at the Aspen Hill Library on July 18.

Whether planned or impromptu, the visits exposed each of them to a learning experience called ‘‘It’s All about Reading!”

The free event was sponsored by Montgomery County’s Lucky Clovers 4-H Club, which received a Verizon Maryland Summer Learning Grant through the Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University.

‘‘The program was designed to promote literacy in fun and informative ways,” 4-H volunteer and former 4-H Extension specialist Edith Williams said.

The program featured a reading station where 4-H club members — mostly middle and high school students — and ‘‘celebrities” — government officials, school principals and other business and community leaders — read books out loud to children throughout the afternoon.

Other 4-H’ers staffed activity stations where children could engage in hands-on learning related to the book topics, including insects, nutrition, recycling, summer fun and general information about Maryland.

Children were given a ‘‘passport” sheet when they arrived and received stickers for their passport at each station. If they earned at least three stickers, they received a free book.

‘‘It’s All about Reading!” was the latest effort by the Lucky Clovers to improve literacy among the area’s youth.

In 1999, with a competitive grant from Bridgestone Firestone coordinated by the National 4-H Foundation, club members introduced 4-H Reading Buddies, a theme-based literacy program. Since then, they have helped Aspen Hill neighborhood children in kindergarten through third grade, for whom many English is a second language, to improve their language and reading skills.

Once a month for an hour, 20 or so youngsters gather at the Aspen Hill Library, which co-sponsors the program. There they listen to 4-H’ers read two stories and engage in activities and make a take-home craft related to the stories.

Children who participate in the program for a year receive three to five free books to start or add to their personal library.

And speaking of books ...

The Friends of the Rockville Library holds a book sale every Wednesday from June through October in conjunction with the Farmer’s Market in downtown Rockville.

The sale runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. along East Montgomery Avenue.

The weekly sales have been so successful that book reserves are low and the group needs more books to continue the sales. It is a good problem to have, but the organization is looking for more books to sell, as proceeds help the library offer a wide variety of special projects.

Anyone interested in donating books in good condition can take them to the circulation desk at the Rockville Library, located at 21 Maryland Ave. in Town Square.

Fiction, nonfiction, children’s, gardening and cookbooks are in particular demand, but no magazines or textbooks. Most books sell for $1.

For more information, call Dan Beavin at 240-777-0140.

Montgomery College namesnew student trustee

Montgomery College student Cristian E. Barrera has been appointed to serve a one-year term as the student representative on the community college’s Board of Trustees.

Barrera, who attends classes at the Rockville Campus, fills the seat formerly held by Vanessa Coleman, whose term as the student trustee expired on July 1.

A native of El Salvador, Barrera is a member of Montgomery College’s Montgomery Scholars honors program and holds a 3.81 grade point average. This July, Barrera joined fellow Scholars at the University of Cambridge in England, where he attended summer college classes.

This month, he is volunteering at Hôpital des Enfants de Rabat, a children’s hospital in Rabat, Morocco, as part of Cross-Cultural Solutions, a nonprofit international volunteer organization. He is teaching English to children suffering from asthma, diabetes and cancer and creating recreational and educational activities for them.

‘‘I want to make a difference,” Barrera said in a prepared statement. ‘‘I personally think that advocating for the college and my fellow classmates is the first step. I am willing and ready to work hard to make the college a place where not only ‘endless possibilities’ exist, but also one in which they are at the fingertips of every student.”

At Montgomery College, Barrera has participated in various student clubs and sports teams. This fall, he will become the vice president of the college’s Rockville Campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Attending Montgomery College is a family affair for Barrera. His older sister, Brenda, attends the community college and studies in the general honors program. Barrera’s goal is to graduate with his sister next May.

Members of the Montgomery College Board of Trustees, who are appointed by the Governor of Maryland, exercise general oversight for the college and are empowered to establish policies for implementing the college’s mission.

A feast befitting the elders

A traditional luncheon for Lutherans might include bratwurst and beer, but not so on Aug. 8.

Sixteen Asian residents of the National Lutheran Home in Rockville were treated to an authentic Asian food luncheon by Summer Youth Volunteers.

Volunteer director Adele Warnke supervises more than 50 youths each summer. For the second year, the Asian volunteers wanted to have a special day for their elders, so they offered them homemade won ton soup, egg rolls and other culinary delights.

In observance of the custom to have the eldest person begin the meal with a blessing, a 97-year-old resident offered spiritual words and the feasting began.

Saluting Rockville’snonprofit groups

The third annual Salute to Rockville Nonprofits will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday in the new plaza at Rockville Town Square, between Maryland Avenue and Gibbs Street.

The theme this year is ‘‘Back to School, Back to Work,” and visitors are encouraged to bring school supplies to donate to Rockville youth or office supplies to donate to local nonprofit organizations.

More than 20 local agencies will be available to discuss their work in the community and offer volunteer opportunities.

This event is sponsored by the City of Rockville Department of Recreation and Parks, the Rockville Caregivers Coalition, the Rockville Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery Alliance and the Rockville Human Services Advisory Commission.

For more information, call Rockville’s Community Services Division at 240-314-8310.

Tutors needed to teach adults to read, speak English

The Literacy Council of Montgomery County has more than 200 adult students on its waiting list for tutors to teach them how to read, write or speak English.

Tutor orientations will be held at the Rockville Library 7:30 to 9 p.m. Aug. 29.

Registration is required. For information, call 301-610-0030 or send an e-mail to

Items appropriate for this column should be sent to Judith Hruz, Editor, The Rockville Gazette, 1200 Quince Orchard Blvd., Gaithersburg, Md. 20878; faxed to 301-670-7182 or 301-670-7183; or e-mailed to Deadline is Thursday at 5 p.m. Items are subject to editing and used on a space-available basis.