Sharing a book and a story
By Robin Scott
The cafeteria at Dalhart Intermediate School was bustling with activity on Wednesday morning, December 16th as the HOSTS Reading Program held its annual Christmas party. Thirty-two children and nearly twice as many mentors attended the party, enjoying refreshments, gifts, entertainment and fellowship. HOSTS (Help One Student To Succeed) is in its 16th year at DIS.
Linda Vermedahl, the HOSTS director, noted, “All of our HOSTS students, mentors and substitutes were invited to the festive celebration.” HOSTS is a reading mentoring program held four days each week, four times each day, at Dalhart Intermediate School for fourth grade students who needs some good one-on-one time while reading. Vermedahl stated, “Some of our students have moved a lot, or they have had trouble hearing and didn’t learn to read well, and the HOSTS program allows them to achieve improved reading skills.”
Each HOSTS student presented their mentors with Christmas cards with hand-written special messages for each mentor, and a special Christmas gift. The gift given this year was a snowflake-decorated pen made by the HOSTS students. Gifts were also presented to each youngster. Each year, a gift bag is filled to the brim with all sorts of goodies, and Vermedahl commented, “We never know what we are going to receive for the gift bags. The mentors provide ‘surprises’ each year.”
Refreshments for this year’s Christmas party were provided by the Dalhart Area Rotary Club. Volunteering to serve the refreshments were HOSTS mentors Kim Jones, Edwyna Womble, Rhonda Johnson, Linda Plunk and Denise Baumert. Rotary Club representatives included Edwyna Womble, Linda Plunk and the current Rotary Club President, Sheldon Snyder.
Helping a child better his or her reading skills is an invaluable contribution to the community and the HOSTS volunteers’ selfless time given in support of the students is more than greatly appreciated. One hundred twenty to one hundred fifty volunteer mentors and substitutes show up faithfully each week to sit and read with their HOSTS student. The HOSTS volunteers are the largest volunteer group in Dalhart, and they fill an important role in the lives of each student. The students’ excitement at seeing their mentors arrive Wednesday morning showed just how important their mentors have become to them. They spend time each week not only reading and learning, but building a relationship with their mentors.
For more information about the HOSTS Reading Program and to make a difference in a student’s life by giving him or her the extra attention and encouragement needed to become a better student, contact Linda Vermedahl at 244-7382.