Is there someone special you would like to honor this Valentine’s Day? Reading is Fundamental (RIF) of Cowlitz/Wahkiakum Counties has valentines perfect for sending to family, friends and teachers. For a donation to RIF, you receive a valentine to send with the message, “In celebration of reading, a gift in your honor has been given to Reading is Fundamental of Cowlitz/Wahkiakum Counties.”
RIF is the reading motivation and family literacy program that distributes books to over 6,000 children in Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. This year, preschool through third grade children are discovering the wonder of RIF. Our local program is totally staffed by volunteers. We need donations to buy new books to give to our 192 children at St. James preschool and JA Wendt Elementary. Each child meets three times during the school year with a RIF volunteer who reads/tells a story and then each child selects a new book to keep and take home. All donations of money go to purchasing books. There are no paid volunteers.
Since 1974, RIF of Cowlitz has helped prepare young children for reading. As an all-volunteer organization, the support of the entire community has played a significant role in our longevity. We have distributed almost 560,000 books since the inception of the program. In 1993, Wahkiakum County joined with Cowlitz County to bring books to students at St. James preschool and JA Wendt Elementary. We know that children who have books in their homes and who read for pleasure have a greater chance for academic success. This past year, RIF will give new books to over 6,000 students at 26 different sites in Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. The budget for books is around $60,000 for the year.
Since 1988, the valentine card has been our only major fundraiser. Its sole purpose is to raise funds to buy books. The artist for this year’s valentine is Rochelle Skreen, a recent Kelso High School graduate who is now attending LCC. She is a former RIF recipient who created a whimsical design reflecting Pacific Northwest childhood memories.
This year more than ever, your contribution will make a difference. Due to the national RIF program being cut from the federal budget, and no longer being affiliated with United Way, we are relying solely on area donations to fund our local program. The gift amount is up to you. Every dollar is used to buy books. A $25 donation buys 8 books. A $50 gift funds much of a distribution for a preschool classroom. Just $3.40 will buy one book. RIF days are special ones for your children in Wahkiakum County.
RIF valentines are available at the Eagle office or by calling Mary Thomas at 795-3444 in Cathlamet or Sharon Schneider at (360) 270-6166 or Jill Buccola at (360) 749-1932 in Longview.