The Houlton Higher Education Center presented a "Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!" event for area preschoolers, elementary-age students and community members on Friday, March 2.
The Houlton Center event was part of the National Education Association's Read Across America Day, which calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of Theodore Geisel, the beloved children's author also known as Dr. Seuss.
The event, which was coordinated by University of Maine at Presque Isle student Esha Stover and University of Maine at Augusta student Jessica Bouley, doubled as a drive for the Houlton Humane Society Animal Shelter. The first 50 children who came to the Center event with an item for the shelter received a free Dr. Seuss book and a book titled Bentley and Blueberry from the Humane Society of the United States Animal Tales Series.
All participants received an "I LOVE TO READ" bracelet and a Dr. Seuss bookmark. University students' activity funds were used to purchase the Dr. Seuss books through the First Book program, which is managed in Aroostook County by the Aroostook Training and Education Coalition. The Animal Tales Series book was provided by the Houlton/Hodgdon Adult Education Program.
"HHEC students look for opportunities to give back to their community," Jean Henderson, HHEC Counselor and Coordinator of Student Services, said. "This event was a wonderful collaborative effort to celebrate reading and help the local shelter."
For students, this was an excellent way to share a love of reading – and animals – with local children.
"The children that came out had a really great time reading their books and playing with the kitten from the shelter," Esha Stover said.