HEARTS After-School Program ready for reading and reindeer

September 12, 2010 12:53:00 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


On Monday, the HEARTS After-School Reading Program opens its doors to Columbus students and begin its ninth year of service to the community. The tutoring ministry for children from kindergarten to fourth grade who need that bit of extra help will focus on a yearlong theme: "Inch by Inch -- Reading is a Cinch." 


Mondays through Thursdays, HEARTS staff and volunteers at the 109 Lawrence Drive facility in East Columbus will work with referred students from Fairview, Sale and Stokes Beard Elementary Magnet Schools, and Annunciation Catholic School. Executive Director Mary Ezell has been assisted this summer by students from Mississippi University for Women who readied the library with colorful banners carrying out the "inch by inch" theme.  




You can help 


Community members are encouraged to volunteer. Dependable prospective female and male tutors, age 14 and older, are asked to contact Ezell at 662-244-8444 or 662-327-6941. A training session is set for Thursday, Sept. 16, at 5 p.m. Help is also needed in providing simple snacks for students. 


HEARTS board member Sandra DePriest said, "We''ve had many loving, nurturing and reliable volunteers from RSVP (Retired Seniors Volunteer Program) in the past; and this is a great way for high school or college students to earn community service hours for graduation and for their resumes." 






The nonprofit agency''s major fundraiser this year will be the HEARTS Holiday Bazaar Dec. 3 at Trotter Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission will be a $5 donation at the door. 


Vendor applications for fine arts and crafts are now being accepted for this festive event on the convention center''s lower level. Application fee is $40 per space, assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. (Add $15 if an electrical outlet is required.) Vendors agree to donate 10 percent of their sales to HEARTS. Deadline for registration is Nov. 1. 


Board President Elizabeth Johnson remarked, "We''re inviting all of our friends of HEARTS to go through their sterling silver collections to see if they would be willing to donate any items to the HEARTS Silver Booth."  


Supporters are also asked to contribute bake sale items and help with the bazaar''s bake sale, Johnson added. Garden items and flower bulbs would be welcome for the Garden Booth, as well. 


To reserve vendor space, contact DePriest at [email protected], 662-574-1972; or Johnson at [email protected], 205-712-8500. 


HEARTS is funded by generous community donations and private grants. Contributions supporting this reading outreach for children can be sent to HEARTS, P.O. Box 8124, Columbus, MS 39701.

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.