R Mark introduced Pat Arkin who has lived many years in Brighton, 22 years as a Kindergarten Teacher. She is a volunteer and coordinates the local Sand Parents program. She also volunteers as the Food Bank.
Pat provided an update on the Sand Parents Literacy Program in Brighton.
She took some time to outline and explain  the benefits of reading early and reading often. It starts with reading to young children. It builds their self esteem, health and well being.
Benefits include:
Stimulates mind.
Stress Reduction.
Vocabulary and language skills.
Memory skills.
Stronger analytical abilities.
Imagination and creativity.
Concentration and listening skills.
Free entertainment.
Life long skill.
Reading is a positive stimulus and helps develop the brain.
Pat said Sand Parent program has been in Brighton about 14 or 15 years. Rotary was there at the start. Recently the YMCA said they could no longer help. They don't have much expenses, all volunteers.
Most of the Sand Parents are seniors. All have to get criminal vulnerability checks from OPP. They work through the schools, right now at Smithfield and Spring Valley. Brighton Public have their own program. Sand Parents go through some training. Children apply through the schools in Kindergarten, all students are invited to join. Generally the program is only offered to the Kindergarten students. They don't have enough Sand Parents for more.
They have about 15 Sand Parents and about 53 children in the program.
Pat likes to give all the kids a book at the end of the year. She searches out used books to save costs.
Buying the books annually is about $100. They have a web site that costs less then $100 annually. She is looking for help with these costs.
R Mark thanked Pat.