It’s not every day that our programs attract the attention of three different Detroit area television stations. And last Wednesday, March 2 was no ordinary day. For one thing, it was the 107th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss). To celebrate his birthday and to kick off March Is Reading Month, the Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development Ready, Set, Read! Program began distribution of an assortment of 1,000 books to children in Wayne County. The collection is part of a donation of 50,000 books by the Molina Foundation, located in Torrance, Calif., and founded in 2004 by Dr. Martha Molina Bernadett. The give-aways took place at three Detroit locations: Bates Academy, All Saints Neighborhood Center and the 4-H Community Center. At each location, Wayne County commissioners read President Obama’s children’s book, “Of Thee I Sing.” Even Sparty was on hand to celebrate.
According to Edward Scott, MSUE Wayne County educator, attendance at the 4-H Community Center was twice what they had expected with 123 kids and 15 to 20 adults attending. Said Edward, “Commissioner Bernard Parker, who did the reading at the center, was blown away by the number of people who showed up.”
Each commissioner received a copy of the book they read with signatures of all of the kids in attendance as a thank you, along with a 4-H coffee mug and a certificate.
Edward remarked, “Even high school-aged kids showed up. There was a mad dash to get the books – the kids were that excited. This really shatters the popular perception that kids aren’t interested in reading.”
Many of the books featured science-based topics. National 4-H’s goal is to engage one million new young people in science programs by 2013. As part of that goal, MSUE 4-H is focusing on science literacy among children.
View the video below created by the Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications video unit. It features children at Bates Academy, enjoying their books. It also includes comments from Edward, school staff members and Irma Clark-Coleman, Wayne County commissioner.