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Sept 13, 2002

Calvin Grant to Assist Sigsbee

Young students at Sigsbee Park Elementary School will benefit from a recent $2,000 grant to Calvin College from the Michigan Campus Compact (based in Lansing). The money will be used to strengthen the partnership between Calvin, Sigsbee and Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church.

Students in Education 191 will join volunteers from Sherman Street CRC in the Sigsbee Library, helping the students make connections between the library's resources and what they're learning in the classroom. The money also will be used to hire a curriculum writer, who will create lesson plans for the library volunteers.

Grant recipient Jeff Bouman (above), the new director of Calvin's Service-Learning Center, says the grant is an appropriate one for a school year that the Grand Rapids Public Schools have centered on the theme of literacy.

Folks at Sigsbee are already excited about the program. Principal Mildred Willis says that the library program is a valuable part of her students' educations. Learning to do research and use reference materials, she says, helps them get ready for middle school. And learning how to use the school library also makes it easier for them to then go to a public library,

Sigsbee's library was renovated in the spring of 2001 but the school has no money to staff it. They turned at that time to Sherman Street, a neighborhood church that had previously helped the school with small projects like a garden habitat. Church volunteers each dedicated one or two hours a week to reading to children and leading library-related activities at Sigsbee. But by the end of the year the church still felt like it lacked the expertise to help students get the most possible out of the library. It turned to Calvin for advice and together the church, the college and Sigsbee put together the recently funded grant which now will bring together all three partners for the 2002-2003 school year (and hopefully beyond).

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-957-6475 (v)
616-957-7069 (f)