(Rock Island, IL)  According to the director, Diana Allen, "Bridges:  The Polly Musical" is an adaptation of the made-for-TV Disney movie, Polly.  That movie was a remake of a movie that came out in the 1950's with Hayley Mills called Pollyanna, but it used African Americans.  Allen says it is a story about love and hope in a black community.  It portrays both sides of a community?the black and white cultures?and how to build bridges between them.  The show is this Friday and Saturday, June 6th and 7th at 7:00 pm at the Rock Island High School Auditorium.

Allen says the intent of the program is to encourage people of all ages and color to attend the show and learn how to change a bad situation into a god one.  Allen says there will be 6:45 Pre-Show that will showcase aspiring artists.  Tickets are $10.00 per person....under five is free.

Allen and cast members will be available for interviews and photographs tonight and tomorrow night at 5:15 pm in the auditorium.

(Moline, IL) Wilson Middle School student, Ian Brown, has composed "Endeavor" and it will be premiered on Thursday, May 22nd at the Wilson Middle School Orchestra Spring Concert. The concert begins at 7:00 pm. in the school auditorium.

According to the Wilson Instrumental Music Director, Todd Slothower, this is not Brown's first composition.  The 13 year old has been composing for about a year. "He has a lot of talent and drive.  This will be the first time our orchestra has performed a student's work," says Slothower.  Brown is a cello player in the orchestra and a bass player in the jazz band at Wilson.

(Rock Island, IL)  The "Lights ON for Learning" Drama Club students at Washington Junior High school are putting a twist on the Odyssey....a Dr. Seuss twist.

The play is called The SeussOdyssey and was written by Don Zollidis.  It is about Odysseus and his adventures, but put to the familiar rhyming of everyone's beloved Doctor Seuss.  It is a play for all ages, with bright colors, props, and scenery.  Admission is free, although donations are always accepted.

The performances are Friday, May 2nd, 2014 at 6:30pm, and Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 6:30pm in the school gym.  The media is invited to both performances to interview the students/director.  For more information contact the director...Jennifer Hoeper cell phone number (563)271-5954.

Rock Island County parents have the opportunity to find out how their little ones are progressing. A free "early learning readiness fair" is being held THIS week.

(Rock Island, IL)  Rock Island County Regional Office of Education Superintendent, Tammy Muerhoff, says birth to age five is an integral time period for the development of young children. And because of that, the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education, the Early Childhood Coalition and the All Our Kids Early Childhood Network are collaborating to offer parents of children age birth to age five an opportunity to acquire resources from community agencies, school districts, and child care centers.

Muerhoff says "The Early Learning Readiness Fair "provides an opportunity for parents to gather information and ask questions in one location.   "Children's experiences in their first few years of life influence how they develop, learn and interact with the world and so parents must know what they can do to make sure that time is filled with great growth".

The fair is being held THIS Wednesday, April 9th from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Building in Rock Island?4600 46th Avenue  Rock Island.   At the fair there will be vision and hearing screenings, information on family resources available in the community, age appropriate activities, summer learning activities and tours of a school bus for those going to kindergarten in the fall.

Moline High School students put their spin on the popular 1950's play that portrays an ambitious window washer seeking to climb the corporate ladder.  The show is being held Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm....and on Saturday at 2:00pm and 7:30 pm.

** The elaborate set is a story in itself**  Each musical Brad Chumbley, from Custom Builder, in Moline creates the set and volunteers countless hours.  This year he had help from students from area schools.  His daughter graduated from Moline years ago but he continues to volunteer.  This year part of the set spins around and what was a wall becomes a window to the outside of an office.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a musical by Frank Loesser and book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert, based on Shepherd Mead's 1952 book of the same name.

Some Rock Island middle school girls have joined a sorority--a so-called "BLING "SORORITY designed to learn the value of community service and being good role models.

Each week a couple of dozen 6th through 8th girls at Edison Junior High in Rock Island meet in a "Lights ON" afterschool program being run by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois and the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education.  The high school girl led program consists of activities and discussions about friendships, stereotypes and bullying.  The students will also learn about giving back to the community by exploring service opportunities such as helping in a soup kitchen and visiting nursing homes.

The Moline High School Drama Department is putting on an original play written by a local playwright (Mike Bawden) which involves space rangers, heroic comic figures, aliens and flying. The show is called, "Captain Starhawk Saves the World!" and a production company from DeKalb is providing the flying apparatus.

Hall Associates Flying Effects from DeKalb has suited up the students with space packs and they will be soaring when the show opens January 16th.  We would love to give you a sneak preview of the show on Monday, January 13th at 4:30 in the school auditorium.  Actors, the playwright, the director and others will be available for interviews.  What is so unique about this play (besides the flying) is it's written by a local person...it has never been produced... and the Space Ranger uniform designs were created by a cartoonist friend of the author, Dave Dorman (www.dormanart.com).

The show opens January 16th at 7:30 pm.  There are two additional shows...Jan. 17th and Jan. 18th both at 7:30 pm in the school auditorium (3600 Avenue of the Cities)  Ticket prices..$6.00 students, $8.00 adults.

(Rock Island, IL) Approximately 50 refugee families from eight countries speaking eleven different dialects will gather for a traditional Thanksgiving meal and family reading night thanks to the effort of some local college students.  The Church of Peace Family Reading Night will take place on Thursday, November 21 from 6:00-7:30 pm.

The special night will consist of eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and then reading to refugee families.  St. Ambrose University graduate students from Dr. Christine Urish and Dr. Terry Schlabach's Occupational Therapy classes have been collecting books to read and give to the refugee children.
The graduate students began collecting books when their classes began in August and have at least one book to give every child on Family Reading Night.  Several of the OT students will be reading to the entire group, playing guitars and singing songs.  In addition to supplying the refugees and all of their families with a full dinner, they will receive a sack filled with full size self-care supplies (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant).

The immigrants are attending "English as a Second Language"classes funded by the "Lights ON for Learning" program at the Church of Peace.  The Rock Island County Regional Office of Education oversees the 21st Century grant that is a cooperative effort among Black Hawk College, the Regional Office of Education and the Church of Peace.  The students are from many countries with the majority being from Myanmar (used to be called Burma), Iraq, and Africa (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania).

Lisa Viaene, the Site Coordinator of the Family Literacy Program, says the partnership with St. Ambrose has been wonderful for the students and the refugees.  "The professors and students have been an integral part of our English as a second language program at the Church of Peace.  They have volunteered numerous hours already this semester and prepared projects to help our students with functional life skills.  On Family Reading Night the refugees will be introduced to new foods, learn new songs and get to hear some children's stories before leaving with a book and a bag
of personal hygiene products."

Tammy Muerhoff, the Superintendent of the RIROE, says the program has helped so many families adjust to their new life here in the Quad Cities. "The funds provided through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants and our partnership with Black Hawk College have offered refugee families an opportunity to become familiar with English as a second language, a new community, and customs.  Having local students take an interest in their well-being is heartwarming and vital for their education."

St. Ambrose Occupational Therapy students providing a Traditional Thanksgiving meal to area refugees

(Rock Island, IL) Approximately 50 refugee families from eight countries speaking eleven different dialects will gather for a traditional Thanksgiving meal and family reading night thanks to the effort of some local college students.  The Church of Peace Family Reading Night will take place on Thursday, November 21 from 6:00-7:30 pm.

The special night will consist of eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and then reading to refugee families.  St. Ambrose University graduate students from Dr. Christine Urish and Dr. Terry Schlabach's Occupational Therapy classes have been collecting books to read and give to the refugee children.
The graduate students began collecting books when their classes began in August and have at least one book to give every child on Family Reading Night.  Several of the OT students will be reading to the entire group, playing guitars and singing songs.  In addition to supplying the refugees and all of their families with a full dinner, they will receive a sack filled with full size self-care supplies (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant).

The immigrants are attending "English as a Second Language"classes funded by the "Lights ON for Learning" program at the Church of Peace.  The Rock Island County Regional Office of Education oversees the 21st Century grant that is a cooperative effort among Black Hawk College, the Regional Office of Education and the Church of Peace.  The students are from many countries with the majority being from Myanmar (used to be called Burma), Iraq, and Africa (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania).

Lisa Viaene, the Site Coordinator of the Family Literacy Program, says the partnership with St. Ambrose has been wonderful for the students and the refugees.  "The professors and students have been an integral part of our English as a second language program at the Church of Peace.  They have volunteered numerous hours already this semester and prepared projects to help our students with functional life skills.  On Family Reading Night the refugees will be introduced to new foods, learn new songs and get to hear some children's stories before leaving with a book and a bag
of personal hygiene products."

Tammy Muerhoff, the Superintendent of the RIROE, says the program has helped so many families adjust to their new life here in the Quad Cities. "The funds provided through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants and our partnership with Black Hawk College have offered refugee families an opportunity to become familiar with English as a second language, a new community, and customs.  Having local students take an interest in their well-being is heartwarming and vital for their education."

***The media is invited to attend the dinner and interview students, refugees and the organizers of the event***

It's that time of the year again....

Each year a coalition of caring community leaders comes together for a cause as worthy as they come:  handing out bikes to the youngest, and the neediest, among us.  Teaming up, each year, has been the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education, Bike N'Hike and Queen's Parlour.  This initiative, called "Bikes for Brains," seeks to give out 100 bikes (with helmets and training wheels) to qualified QC-area children deemed eligible by Head Start, the Early Childhood Centers and The Project, an AIDS charity.  The average cost of a bike with training wheels is about $50. The Pilot Club of Moline has pledged to donate helmets for all of the new young bikers, for which we are very grateful.  And we are pleased to announce that Walmart has again agreed to donate $1000 toward this year's effort.

Our goal is to raise a total of $6,000 between now and December 9th which is the happy day we give away the bikes.  On that day, from noon-6 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Center in Rock Island, we help the young children pick out their new bikes.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or would like additional information.  Thank you!

Natalie Doyle

Early Childhood Program Coordinator & Education Consultant

Rock Island County Regional Office of Education

3430 Avenue of the Cities

Moline, IL 61265

309-736-1111

309-736-1127 (fax)

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