As option, club mails 400 books
to elementary students’ homes

IMLAY CITY — For the past five years, the Imlay City Rotary Club has spent a March morning reading to kids at the Weston Elementary School in Imlay City.

Rotarian Dana Walker said the book readings to individual classes took place in conjunction with ‘March is Reading Month.’

Walker said Rotary members would bring along children’s books to hand out to each student as a gift and to encourage students to read them at home.

Rotarians Dr. Clif Clendenan and Dr. Joel Hessler prepare gifts of books for delivery to 400 Weston Elementary students.


This year, however, the program had to be canceled due to school closures related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This didn’t sit well with club members,” said Walker.

“We usually have eight Rotarians go to Weston and read to the children. It’s a great time for us and we all love that interaction and seeing their happy faces.”

In the absence of face-to-face reading sessions with the kids, Rotary members convened via e-mail and came up with an alternative plan.

Working in collaboration with Imlay City Schools, the Imlay City Rotary Club purchased 400 books, which have been mailed directly to the homes of each Weston Elementary student.

Walker credited fellow Rotarians, Dr. Joel Hessler and Dr. Clif Clendenan, for taking on the task of labeling and stamping the 400 envelopes and delivering them to the post office.

“We have given the kids their books,” said Walker, “but we miss having the chance to read to them like we have in the past.”

She hopes that can still be accomplished through the application of available technology. “Stay tuned,” Walker said. “We are working on developing a virtual platform so we can read to the children and perhaps involve other
community members, too.”

For more information about the Rotary Club’s reading project, contact Dr. Joel Hessler at 989-295-4376.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.