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SALT LAKE CITY — Every student at Rose Park Elementary School now has a weight on their shoulder that will hopefully remind them to read.
That weight is a new book bag, filled with school supplies for every student at the school. Employees at Deseret Media Companies, including KSL News, donated the bags and and put on a reading assembly Friday.
"It started with our employees (asking) can we do something fun to give back?" said Cindy Richards, with the Deseret News. "So it started on the ground floor."
Rose Park Elementary is one of our neighborhood schools. The idea caught on, and employees orchestrated a collection drive during DMC's company summer party. Over the following months, they purchased supplies, assembled the bags and planned an assembly at the school.
"We're much more interested than just in what happens at the office. We're interested in the community and helping people's lives," said Steve Willes, DMC's vice president marketing.
One employee even went the extra mile by agreeing to be the reading mascot, Isaac the Mouse. He dressed up in the massive costume and gave kids high-five's as they got their goodies.
Principal Nicole Warren welcomed the school supplies. She said they often get backpack donations at the beginning of the year, but by now students have gone through their paper and crayons.
While incentives will push some students to read more, Warren says a school-wide event sends a message that reading is important.
"Having events like this, for me, is important because it reminds kids who might be struggling readers to go a head and try it again," she said.
Students were invited to enroll and log their minutes in the DMC reading program Read Today so they could earn a visit from Chopper 5.
The kids thanked employees for their book bags and pledged to read 20 minutes a day. But the expression most heartfelt came from the kindergartner who handed Isaac the Mouse her handful of M&M's.