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Berlin Elementary is participating again this month in the annual “Read for Ronald McDonald House” program.

This reading-based community-service project raises funds to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region, which is headquartered in Albany.

The charity is 95 percent funded by donations and run by 250 volunteers. Its partnership with regional elementary and middle schools is a huge help to reaching its financial goals.

RMH gives families of seriously ill children comfort and support during critical times in their lives. With three Albany houses available, up to 25 families can stay at a time. They are provided a secure guest room, home-cooked meals, transportation to hospitals, children’s play areas, and other services to help them focus on their child’s health.

In a given year as many as 425 families stay at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) facilities and are able to readily interact with their child’s clinical care team.

Last year 26 BES students raised $1,231 for RMH. During the program’s launch assembly at the end of February, Principal Tracy Kent set this year’s goal at $1,500.

“By combining reading with community service, the program enables students to take an active role in helping other children, while also enjoying the benefits of increasing their reading efforts,” said Nancy Damato, program coordinator for RMH and guest speaker at the BES assembly.

Ms. Damato was grateful for the enthusiasm the students showed when the new goal was set.

“I can’t wait to see the difference you can make,” she said.

The Read for Ronald McDonald House program has officially begun, and pledge packets have been sent home with BES students. The program also offers fun prizes to participating students. Please take time to read over the packets with your student.

Contact Nancy Damato at ndamato@rmhcoalbany.org or the Main Office at BES if you have any questions with regard to how the reading program works.

The BES Student Ambassadors are also participating in a separate service project for RMH. They are hosting a snack drive until March 27 in the main hallway at BES. They are accepting juice boxes, individual pudding cups, fruit cups, and applesauce cups.

The Ambassadors then turn the snacks into cute chicks, bunnies, and puppies to share with the children staying at RMH.

March is National Reading Month, so take time to share a book with your child while making a difference in the lives of RMH families.

Happy Reading!