Gerri Chasko, left, accepts check from Mesquite Sunrise Rotary in support of the Mesquite Reads Program.  Submitted photo

What does reading mean to Sunrise Rotary?  “Everything!” says Deb Parsley, explaining the club’s work on behalf of young readers in the Virgin Valley.   Recently the club presented a check for $2082.55 to Gerri Chasko of the Eureka Community Initiative and the Mesquite Reads program.  That check represented the proceeds from Rotary’s 14th annual golf tournament, earmarked specifically for support of the community reading program.

At the breakfast meeting where Chasko accepted the check from Sunrise Rotary, everyone present was given cookies bearing the Rotary and Mesquite Reads logos, representing their team partnership.

Sunrise Rotary is now getting ready to host a book sale on Saturday, April 4, at the Mesquite Public Library.  All proceeds from that sale support Mesquite Reads.  Rotary invites the public to get involved by donating to the book sale and showing up April 4 to buy books and support student reading skills.

Mesquite Reads was started several years ago when Lupe Guzman and Cathy Davis of the Virgin Valley Elementary School appealed to the Eureka for assistance in operating a supplemental summer reading program to assure that students from kindergarten to third grade received help to bring their reading skills to grade level.  Starting from a core of 60 students that first summer, the program has now expanded to assist students in VVES, J.L. Bowler Elementary, and Beaver Dam Elementary School who could benefit from a five-week summer course.

Teaming with the schools and Eureka Community Initiative, Sunrise Rotary and Mesquite Rotary Clubs are proud to be community partners supporting the reading program that has helped over 600 students in its five-year existence.  This year Rotary International, the umbrella organization for our local clubs, has added an initiative called “Together We Read,” a reading program for children under five.  This program strives to read to, or assist kids to read 1000 books before they start school.  Exposure to a consistent activity of reading benefits young children from the earliest age.

Helping young people is a passion with Rotary.  Much of their fundraising effort goes toward scholarship, leadership camps for middle and high school students, and scholarships fo college students.  Rotarians also support local Little League, Interact Club and other youth-centered efforts.   Please call 702-420-4494 for information, attend a Rotary meeting, and get involved with the April 4 book sale.