About 50 pupils to graduate from DEAR program

December 02, 2003

About 50 third-graders who participated in the fall semester of Fidos for Freedom's DEAR (Dogs Educating and Assisting Readers) program will graduate at 10 a.m. Saturday at the east Columbia library.

The children will receive certificates and pictures of themselves with their dogs. Among the guests will be County Executive James N. Robey; Superintendent John R. O'Rourke; library director Valerie J. Gross; and Jonathan Davis, assistant principal of Phelps Luck Elementary School.

The DEAR program brings third-graders who are reading below grade level into the library Saturday mornings to read to therapy dogs. The dogs provide a nonjudgmental audience for the children, who might feel intimidated by reading in front of teachers, parents or other pupils.

"There's a little dog fidgeting, but they're trained therapy dogs ... so they're all very well behaved," said Christie Lassen of the Howard County Library. "They all get a bath before they come to the library."

The program serves children from Bryant Woods, Guilford, Lisbon, Phelps Luck, Stevens Forest and Swansfield elementary schools, she said, adding that reading specialists from the schools say that children who start the six-week program reading below grade level are reading at or above grade level when they leave.

The library also offers the program at its central and Glenwood branches.

Fidos for Freedom, a local nonprofit group, teaches animals to help people with physical disabilities or other challenges.

-- Fay Lande

Guilford Elementary PTA sponsoring basket bingo

The Guilford Elementary School PTA will sponsor a basket bingo Friday at the Savage fire hall, 8925 Lincoln St., Savage.

Doors will open at 6 p.m.; games are to start at 7:30 p.m. Longaberger holiday baskets will be prizes. Food and beverages will be available to purchase.

Tickets are $13 in advance or $15 at the door. Proceeds from tickets will benefit the PTA. Proceeds from the sale of food will go to the school's yearbook committee.

Information: Laura Borowski, 410-290-9790, or Sally Frekot, 410-381-2653.

Around Town

Children's theater: The 26th season of Lively Arts for Little Ones at The Other Barn in Oakland Mills Village Center will feature Interact Story Theatre at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday. The hero of the play, the Lonely Lion, is consumed by fear, and audience members will be asked to help him. Other performances on the schedule are Kathleen Jacobs & Puppets, Jan. 9; storyteller Arianna Ross, Feb. 6; Kinderman, March 12; and Pam the Kindersinger, April 2. The performances are suitable for children ages 2 1/2 to 5. An adult must accompany children. Tickets are $4.25. Group rates are available. 410-730-4610.

Stamping: Oakland Mills Community Association will sponsor a "Stamping Fun" holiday gift-making workshop for children ages 3 to 5, with an adult, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Dec. 10 at The Other Barn. The cost is $10. Registration is required. 410-730-4610 or 301- 596-5237.

Food drive: Oakland Mills Community Association is conducting a canned-food drive through Dec. 23. A collection box for donations is in the lobby of The Other Barn, 5851 Robert Oliver Place. Canned goods will be delivered through local agencies to needy families. 410-730- 4610.

Ayuda Centro: A resource center for Hispanic Howard County residents is open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Dasher Green-Owen Brown School, 6700 Cradlerock Way. 443-527-1900.

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