Donation Helps Early Education Program

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When pre-schoolers enter Rim Country Literacy's five-week program, they receive a free book each week as an introduction to the literary world.

That world's opening is partly made possible by Qwest Communications. The company donated $2,500 to the Rim Country Literacy Program on Tuesday, which the organization decided to use for their early education program, aimed at pre-schoolers.

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Getting together during a check presentation from Qwest to the Rim Country Literacy Program are (left to right) Qwest Community Relations Representative Victor Daniels, grant writer Alice Natale, Rim Country Literacy Program Director Su Connell, and Qwest Community Relations Representative Cindy Barnes.

For many of those kids, the books are their first. The start of their "library," said Alice Natale, of RCLP.

"It perks their interest in reading," said Su Connell, RCLP's program director.

Though pre-schoolers are not yet able to read, hearing someone else read helps the little ones acclimate to the written word, clearing the thicket to literacy, Connell said.

Statistically, Connell said, if a child cannot read by third grade, he will likely not graduate high school.

"They get behind and they can't catch up," said Natale, a Connell-claimed master storyteller.

Entertaining the children with books teaches them there's more to life than television, Connell said.

Or the Internet. "They don't understand, a book can go anywhere with you," Natale said.

"This is not the first time Qwest has supported this program," said Pat Quinn, Qwest Arizona's president.

"Education and communication are core values for Qwest. Any time we can demonstrate our spirit of service in action and help to educate those in our service territory, it's a winning combination for everyone involved," he added.

RCLP's early education program educates both children and their parents about learning to read.

Other available programs include those for GED, English as a Second Language, and adult basic education.

RCLP has served the community since 1994. They offer three, five-week early education classes each year. The next begins in September, shortly after Labor Day.

For more information, call (928) 468-7257.

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