Wednesday, 7 July 2004

National Literacy Program Rewards Teens

Back to all newsroom
Wednesday, 7 July 2004

Young Skate Fans to Meet Tony Hawk as Winners of the Get on Board and Read @
Your Library Program

DALLAS, July 7 /PRNewswire/ — In an era when video games and television
have taken precedence in occupying the minds of many teenagers, three teenage
boys defy the norm. With camcorder in hand, Michael Cole, Justin Morse and
Colby Kelly recently set out to express how the book Shoeless Joe inspired
them. As a result, the trio is being named grand prize winners of
HERSHEY(R)’S Milk and Milkshakes and the American Library Association’s (ALA)
national Get on Board and Read @ your library program. The winning team will
meet famed professional skateboarder Tony Hawk during the 2004 Boom Boom
HuckJam Tour.

To promote teen reading on a national level, HERSHEY’S Milk and Milkshakes
partnered with the ALA to develop the Get on Board and Read @ your library
program, which is currently in its third year. The program encourages teens
to check out a book to read from their local library, and create a written or
creative entry that best explains why the book is meaningful to them.

“It is an honor to be a part of this program, and I can’t wait to meet
these three talented readers,” said professional skateboarder and program
spokesperson, Tony Hawk. “I read to my sons every night, and it’s encouraging
to know that there’s a program like Get on Board and Read @ your library that
will continue to make reading fun and inventive for them as they grow up.”

In fact, the need to make learning fun for teens by rewarding them was a
driving force behind the program.

“We recently learned that teenagers are spending twice as much time per
week watching TV as reading books or magazines,” said Mike Keown, president of
Dean National Brand Group, Inc., which manufactures and distributes HERSHEY’S
Milk and Milkshakes. “We created this program with the intentions of
promoting teen literacy and getting teens excited about reading again.”

With the support of their school librarian, Kathleen Toubman, the three
teens won with their production of a short video that depicted their personal
interpretation of the book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella. The trio translated
the book’s message, that dreams can be turned into reality, to their own
experience of encouraging their community to support the plans of building a
skate park.

“I am so proud of these young men and the efforts they put into this
project,” said Toubman. “They are in the library all the time, and this
program inspired them to take two of their most favorite things, reading and
skateboarding, and unite them into one tribute.”

The winning team used the book’s famed phrase “If you build it, they will
come,” as the focal point of their video interpretation. In the video, they
showcased how construction of a local skate park will draw crowds from all
over town.

“The passion this book presents for baseball is as strong as our passion
for skateboarding,” Cole said. “We are so excited to meet Tony Hawk,
especially since he’s been so influential in the sport and in assisting other
communities establish skateboard parks.”

To be eligible for the program, teens ages 12 to 18 years were instructed
to create a written essay or creative entry — including a poem, painting or
video — as part of the program. Entries could be submitted by an individual,
or a group of up to four people.

“This year, our participation has doubled from previous years, with more
than 4,100 librarians involved and 1,500 entries for the program,” said ALA
executive director Keith Michael Fiels. “It is so rewarding to know we are
helping libraries reach teenagers with a fun program that not only increases
teens’ interest in reading, but also rewards them for being imaginative.”

Dean National Brand Group, Inc.

Dean National Brand Group, Inc. is a subsidiary of Dean Foods Company
(NYSE: DF), one of the nation’s leading food and beverage companies. The
nationally branded products include International Delight(R) coffee creamers,
Marie’s(R) Salad Dressings and dips, Dean’s Dips, Mocha Mix(R) non-dairy
coffee creamer, Naturally Yours(TM) sour cream, Second Nature(R) eggs, LAND O’
LAKES Dairy Ease(R) lactose-free milks and Farm Rich(R) and Coffee Rich(R)
coffee creamers. Products produced under licensed brands include HERSHEY(R)’S
Milk and MilkShakes and Folgers(R) Jakada(TM) chilled coffee beverage. For
more information, visit http://www.deanfoods.com .

American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the voice of America’s libraries
and the millions of people who depend on them. Its 64,000 members are
primarily librarians, but also trustees, publishers and others who support the
work of the association. The mission of the American Library Association is to
provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library
and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to
enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

Contacts: Melissa Layton
Weber Shandwick
314.552.6785

SOURCE Dean Foods

CONTACT: Melissa Layton of Weber Shandwick, +1-314-552-6785

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