While the Ames Laboratory Holiday Auction has been benefitting local charities for a dozen years, we've rarely gotten a glimpse of just how the money has been spent to improve the lives of those in need. Last year's beneficiary -- Raising Readers in Story County -- provided the following narrative to illustrate how the gift has been shared and to offer additional thanks for the support.
Ames Laboratory employees made a generous donation last winter to Raising Readers in Story County. This gift will impact 1,000 Story County children, ages 0-11. The Raising Readers Gift Book Program is preparing to distribute science-related books to children who have few books at home.
Each gift book will have a label on the back cover recognizing the Ames Laboratory employees. Selected books will also list tips for parents on how to make science hands-on and fun for their young children.
“We are so pleased that the employees of the Ames Lab are committed to promoting literacy and science in Story County,” said Carol Elbert, Raising Readers Board President.
“It’s never too early to read to a baby,” Raising Readers assures parents. A newborn already can recognize the mother’s voice over the voices of strangers. As a parent cuddles and talks to an infant, the baby is learning. Gradually, children learn about the world around them, develop understanding of language, and experience cause and effect. Reading books is one way to stimulate a child’s curiosity, encourage observation skills, and build vocabulary.
For example, “Splash” in the Baby Faces series by Roberta Grobel Intrater is a board book with color photos of multiethnic babies playing with water. A young baby loves to look at pictures of babies, and a parent can talk about the book, relating the pictures to his child’s own splashing at bathtime.
“Raindrop, Plop!” by Wendy Cheyette Lewison can help a toddler learn about weather and about observing nature. Older children—and adults-- will enjoy the amazing photographs in “A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder” by Walter Wick and can follow up with their own scientific investigations.
In spring 2014, Raising Readers will provide a free early science and literacy event for Story County families with children ages 0-5. The first 350 children who attend will receive a science-related book purchased by the Ames Lab employee donation.
In addition, Ames Lab gift books will be given to children through Story County food pantries, Youth and Shelter Services Stork’s Nest, United Way in Story County Backpack program, Head Start, and WIC check-ups.
Purdue University issued a news release detailing Purdue's involvement in the Critical Materials Institute, one of the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Innovation Hubs, located and led by the DOE's Ames Laboratory.