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City asked to help #039;Make a Difference#039;

On Oct. 26, people will converge at the Ironton City Center to try to "Make a Difference."

The Kiwanis Club and Adult Basic Literacy Education (ABLE) are sponsoring Make a Difference Day Read-a-Thon and Mini-Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the City Center. Created by USA Weekend Magazine, Make a Difference Day is an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. Individuals or groups with a project for that day choose a volunteer project that helps others.

The project of the Kiwanis and ABLE focuses on literacy.

"Big things happen when you start small," Janet Bowman, a volunteer for ABLE, said. "This year, we're planning to make it bigger and better."

A clown and other costumed characters will make appearances, and children can get their faces painted. Also, non-profit agencies will distribute information about volunteering. During the event's Read-A-Thon, children who participate by either reading aloud or just listening will get a free book to take home.

Also, organizers hope that children served by Mended Reeds, an organization that serves abused and neglected or otherwise dependent children, will have a library afterward. Those attending may donate a new or gently used book.

"It's important for all children to get excited about reading," David Lambert, director of Mended Reeds, said. "If we have a library, books will be more readily available to children living in our home, and it will increase reading."

Because the organization is fairly new, Lambert said, it has very few books.

Sally Carter, a literacy technician for ABLE, said the Read-A-Thon and Mini-Fair grows every year.

"The more she [Janet Bowman] does it, the bigger the crowd gets," she said. "It's something that really gets kids excited about reading."

Carter teaches adults who are unable to read, and for that reason, she said making reading fun for children and making them want to read more is important.

When working with the people unable to read, it reminds her of what it was like learning to read as a child.

"When I'm working with them, it takes me back," she said. "I can taste the chocolate milk, and I can see the teacher. I get my sense of smell back, too."