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News Release

September 18, 2003

Northampton Mayor and Local Authors Gather to Read Children's Stories

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. - From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 4, local public figures will gather to read their favorite children's books aloud at Davis Ballroom, Prospect Street, Smith College.

The event, known as Stories & Snacks, is co-sponsored by Service Organizations of Smith (S.O.S.) and Safe Passage, a Northampton-based organization that offers support and shelter for domestic violence victims and their loved ones.

Those to read include Northampton Mayor Mary Clare Higgins and local writers Norton Juster, author of "The Phantom Tollbooth," and Heidi Stemple, co-author of the "Unsolved Mysteries from History" series for children. In addition, a member of the Northampton Police Department and Safe Passage staff will read.

The event will benefit Safe Passage's children's program, which includes counseling, play therapy, outings, food and clothing.

The idea for Stories & Snacks came from Smith sophomore Stacey Braverman, a board member of S.O.S. Braverman has volunteered at Safe Passage in the past and often read to the children there.

"I realized how amazing the kids were," said Braverman. "One thing I also noticed was how much they enjoyed being read to. "

Last year, Braverman organized a book drive to benefit Safe Passage. More than 300 books were collected, which will be "shared with other shelters and given to children when they leave the shelter so they can have their own book," said Braverman.
This year, Braverman decided to organize this public book reading to raise funds for Safe Passage in response to budget cuts, which many non-profit organizations are facing this year.

Braverman also hopes that the event will benefit the children who attend.
" I like the idea of different ages and genders reading -- it's great to see that. I think it's a good message to kids if they see a police officer reading stories, " said Braverman.

The cost of the event is $5 per person. Snacks and drinks will be available. A raffle will also be held at the event. The raffle winner will receive an original lithograph by local children's book author Eric Carle. Other prizes include gift certificates to local businesses.

S.O.S. will also be collecting "new and gently used" children's books at the event.
For more information regarding the event, contact Braverman at (413) 585-7018,


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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