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A Light in the Dark: Annual Flashlight Reading at Dodger Academy - from The Messenger

April 8, 2022

Flashlight in hand, Yarie Hankinson-Avila sat in the middle of the Butler Elementary School gym as she buried her nose in a "Babysitter's Club" book while darkness enveloped her Thursday afternoon.

Hankinson-Avila, 7, and the other students at the Dodger Academy after school program were joined by members of the Fort Dodge Noon Kiwanis club for the annual Flashlight Reading Night. Each student received a book from the Kiwanis to take home at the end of the night.

The students were able to pick out what they wanted to read. Some popular selections were "Pete the Cat" books, the "Babysitter's Club" series and "Fly Guy."

This is the first year since COVID-19 started that the flashlight reading event has been scheduled.

"I'm really excited about it this year," said Dodger Academy Director Erin Brookshire.

Kiwanis members, Dodger Academy staff, volunteers and parents got together with the students in the dark gym, the school library and the cafeteria to read together by flashlight.

This flashlight reading event is something the Noon Kiwanis are passionate about, President-elect Scott Meier said.

"It's important because we encourage reading, encourage the students to learn and encourage parents to work with their students," Meier said.

Reading in the dark with just a flashlight to use to see is part of the fun, he said.

"I think they enjoy it," Meier said. "It's kind of like you're staying up late at night and reading in your bed."

The Kiwanis club purchases and donates all the books to the students, which is made possible by the successful fundraising events the club does like its annual pancake breakfast, Meier said.

The Kiwanis also provided dinner for the students and their families - hotdogs, chips and a cookie, to enjoy in the cafeteria or to take home.

"Dodger Academy is extremely thankful for the Noon Kiwanis and everything they do to help us," Brookshire said.

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