There was a lot to smile about Tuesday as owners of some of Red Deer’s Tim Hortons announced that nearly $34,000 was raised for Red Deer Public School’s Reading College program.
The money, $33,978, was raised through the sale of Smile Cookies through the month of September across Red Deer’s Tim Hortons locations.
Funded through many donors, like the Tim Hortons Smile Cookie fundraiser, the program is done at Red Deer College in the month of July, and provides referred students with a summer experience to help develop their reading skills and interest in reading.
“It feels wonderful because it is an expensive program, but it’s a fabulous program and we just see really good results,” said Coordinator Elvy Goring.
She added they are trying to pick kids who are on the cusp of being readers, and pushing them to that independent level.
“So when they are in Grade 3 they are now at a more independent, and many of them are at an independent level so they no longer need that extra support from the teacher, which not only benefits these guys it benefits the other kids in their class who the teacher is now freed up to work with,” said Goring.
Goring said they had 11 schools who sent students to the Reading College this year, and that there were 63 graduates of the program this past summer.
One of the many local Tim Hortons owners, Tanya Doucette said the support from the community has been incredible.
“As restaurant owners we donate the cookies and the team members time to make the cookies and then our guests have just been so incredibly supportive. This is actually our fifth year working with the Smile Cookie program,” said Doucette, adding the bakers literally made 34,000 cookies.
She added that over time when students are learning to read in those early grades of Kindergarten, Grade 1 and 2, it’s about learning to read, but once they reach Grade 3, they’re reading to learn.
“So if your skill set hasn’t developed to the place where you’re able to really keep up then you’re going to fall behind in all your other subjects, so we’re so excited to help those students get the leg up they need to not just meet the expectations in their class but really exceed them.”