Providing for Our Youth

As the saying goes, “reading is fundamental,” and this summer (as it does all year round), the Ellicottville Memorial Library is doing its part to enhance the lives of children through the written word.  So is the Rotary Club of Ellicottville, which also plays a big role in youth programming on a local level through its Foundation For Youth program.  This month, we’re traveling “Around the Block” to see what our local youth have been up to during their summer break … let’s go!
Activities at the Ellicottville Memorial Library
6499 Maples Rd. • Ph. 716-699-2842
The theme for this year’s Summer Reading Program at the Ellicottville Memorial Library has been ‘Fizz, Boom, READ!’ ... and as Laura Flanagan, the Director and Head Librarian at the Ellicottville Memorial Library says, “Our summer programming not only helps motivate children to read, but it also develops positive attitudes about reading and books.  Additionally, it helps children maintain their reading skills over summer vacation and encourages regular use of the library.”
Over 80 children signed up for this year’s program, which is nearing completion for the summer.  Each week participants were exposed to a new reading theme - from “Robots Rule” to “Under a Microscope,” to “Construction Zone” and more.  Based on the amount of reading the children did, they would be given a certain amount of coupons each week that they could then place in containers for a drawing to win some amazing prizes that were donated by local businesses.  However, if you missed out on the Summer Reading Program, do not despair, the library still has plenty to offer. 
“Story Time is held every Wednesday throughout the year,” said Flanagan.  “Story time is run by Sis Signore, a retired Kindergarten teacher from ECS.  Each week Sis reads two or three short stories followed by a craft project.” 
During the school year (from September to May), Story Time time follows the “Growing with Music” class taught by Terri Steinbar. By combining Story Time with Growing with Music, the library has showcased its ability to be creative when it comes to expanding the horizons of children.  Another unique example of this creativity comes in the form of man’s best friend.  Meet Dooley the Dog.  Dooley is a registered therapy animal.  His handler, Martha Brown, had Dooley trained under the R.E.A.D. Program (Reading Education Assistance Dogs).  The goal of the program is to help children improve their reading and communication skills by reading to - you guessed it - a dog!   
“Studies show that children are much more relaxed when reading to an animal companion because dogs do not judge or criticize, which allows the children to proceed at their own pace,” said Flanagan.  “I’ve noticed with Dooley at the library, a child’s dread is replaced with anticipation.”  If your child is interested in reading to Dooley, please call the library at 716-699-2842.
The library isn’t just all about books (although let’s face it, books are the key component - as well they should be).  On Aug. 14 there will be a showing of the Disney movie “Bears” at 6:30pm.  Not only is the movie free but moviegoers will also get free to enjoy free popcorn and a drink.  “Bears” is rated G and showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons.
Clearly the Ellicottville Memorial Library has plenty to offer the community.  Many of these amenities are made possible through donations.  Over the years the Rotary Club of Ellicottville Foundation for Youth has provided generous gifts to the library in efforts to boost technological offerings.  They recently donated $4,000 to purchase a variety of computers and tablets.  Many of the library’s 30,000 visitors each year are utilizing some form of computer/digital device, and thanks in part to the Rotary Foundation for Youth and to all the other donors, the library is able to provide access to important digital information.
“Under a Tuscan Moon”
Saturday, August 23 at Holiday Valley Resort
Involvement is a key component to any successful and thriving community.  The Rotary Club of Ellicottville loves to get involved and help out those in need.  Over the years, the Rotary has donated to causes both big and small. Naturally, one of the primary endeavors of Rotary is to help local children … and that’s where the Foundation for Youth program comes into play. 
The Foundation for Youth program raises funds throughout the year that go towards enhancing various programs for young people in the Ellicottville area.  One of the program’s biggest fundraisers is coming up on Aug. 23 at 6pm at John Harvard’s Cabana Bar and Pool Complex at Holiday Valley.  The event: Under a Tuscan Moon - A Tribute to Michael Kerns.
This special annual event will feature a fantastic collection of silent and live auction items that will be on display just inside the entrance of the Cabana Bar and Pool area.  The event kicks off at 6pm, with the live auction beginning at 8pm and the silent auction ending at 9pm.  The auction will feature items such as Cutco Knives, Buffalo Sabres tickets, fine wines, and much more.
“This is the 5th year for this event,” stated Greg Cappelli of the Rotary Club of Ellicottville.  “It has been called ‘Another Day in Paradise’ and ‘Voodoo Moon’ each of which ran two years, which replaced the ‘Stars for Youth’ event that ran five years prior.  For anyone who knew Michael Kerns, you know this is a party he would’ve loved.”
While Rotary is looking to raise money with Under a Tuscan Moon, the second most important objective is to have fun! Part of that fun is the food.  Participants will be greeted with a selection of great hors d’oeuvres from John Harvard’s and served by students from Ellicottville Central School.  Individual food stations will be set up for dinner at 6:30pm; everyone is encouraged to try a little bit of everything before going back and filling up on their favorite choices.
Make sure you leave room for some tasty treats after dinner.  Watson’s Chocolates will have a dessert table set up, and guests can indulge in special cookies, cakes and tarts created by chef Tom Kneeland, which Cappelli says is the “highlight” of the night.
Why so much student participation? Cappelli explained that one of the reasons for the involvement of ECS students is that it allows the students to see what the Foundation for Youth is all about, while also learning about community service.  He went on to say that many of the students end up getting various job offers as a result of their service work.
Throughout the evening, The Strangers will play sets of their classic rock-n-roll for the entertainment of everyone at the event.  Twice voted Western New York’s Top Classic Rock Band, The Strangers features one of the widest varieties of music in the WNY area in their repertoire. 
If you are interested in attending, tickets for Under a Tuscan Moon event are $65 and can be purchased by calling 716-699-8758.


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