Earlier today a few of us Capstoners headed to Midway Stadium for the Saint Paul Saints first exhibition game. If you’re not familiar with the Saints, they’re our local, minor league baseball team with famous ties (actor Bill Murray is part owner of the team).
Today was “Educators Day,” a special event for just teachers and students. Buses, and buses, and more buses shuttled to the stadium dropping off students ranging in age from early elementary to middle school.
We were there to give away hundreds of copies of the adorable picture book Goodnight Baseball by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Christina Forshay. Michael was even there to help hand out the books to students.
Despite the light rain, we had a great time! Goodnight Baseball was a hit (pun intended!). The kids’ excitement for a free baseball book was contagious. And by far the best quote from the day came from a little boy who enthusiastically exclaimed, “I’m going to give this to my little brother for Christmas!”
The game was cut early because of the wet field, but the Saints ended up winning the game 8-3! Check out more photos from our exciting day on our Facebook page.
It was announced today that I will be leading the Corporate Giving for Coughlan Companies. I'm excited to work on this since I think corporate giving shows that Capstone is much more than 'just' a book publisher. Every year our company donates thousands of dollars in books, gives scholarships to employee dependents and encourages our employees to volunteer.
Our biggest Corporate Giving project right now is the Capstone Literacy Center (CLC). About a year ago, Dr. Andy Johnson developed the CLC in the basement of our corporate offices in Mankato. This reading intervention program uses myON Reader and employee volunteers to help local students (at no charge) who just never got the reading help they needed. It's expanded to three sites already! I'm anxious to see where we will expand it next, and excited to dive into my new role!
Today is International Children's Book Day and the theme for 2013 is Bookjoy. Of course you and I know all about Bookjoy...we love books. It's a given. But what about those kids who don't? Who don't know how to love a book because they didn't "get" the basic instructions on how to read?
Fortunately, Capstone has initiated a program with headquarters in the lower level of our Mankato office to address these issues. At Capstone Literacy Center, Dr. Andy Johnson and his trained tutors help children learn to read..and they love it! I had the opportunity to meet one of his kids last week -- a fifth grade girl who was reading at kindergarten level when she first came in, but with the interventions and the fun she has in the center, is now reading at a 4th grade reading level…and she loves it! She’s joined the book club at the center where they can sit anywhere they like to read and discuss a book (Andy has provided pillows for under-the-table reading). The book club's current read? Hocus Pocus Hotel. Interest level is grades 3-6 and reading level 2-3, the perfect book to enjoy…developing Bookjoy.
Happy birthday to Michael Dahl…a man who brings bookjoy to many children!
Wow, 2012 was an amazing year of forming new partnerships, as well as continuing relationships with many wonderful organizations. We’re proud of our employees’ generosity, both financially and through their volunteer involvement.
Coughlan Companies (Capstone’s parent company) recognizes that healthy, thriving communities depend on involved citizens, organizations and corporate partners for momentum. Our Corporate Giving Program lends support, services and resources to community organizations working to improve the quality of life for the people we serve. Our Philosophy of Giving focuses on: Literacy, Education, and Environment.
Our Corporate Giving team wanted to share with you a few giving highlights from 2012.
Giving in Minnesota:
On December 12th, Coughlan Companies was honored to receive the Keystone Award by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce. Originally known as the 5% Club, the Minnesota Keystone Program recognizes companies that give at least 2% of their pre-tax earnings back to the community.
There are a lot of photos of the event that you can see on the Chamber’s facebook page.
You'll find this photo on their facebook page. It shows three of our corporate execs receiving the award: Bob Coughlan (Principal) on the far right, Tom Ahern (CEO Coughlan Companies) in the middle and Scott Sustacek (CEO of Jordan Sands, LLC) on the left next to WCCO anchor Angela Davis.
If you look closely at this photo, that’s me on the big screen bragging about our employees who take time to volunteer for their communities. The company encourages all of us to give back and this award shows that the employees do just that! I'm happy to be part of this company!
Today I come to you as a new member of the Capstone Corporate Giving committee. This committee has done some incredible work in the past and we have some very exciting programs happening through our donations!
On December 12th, Coughlan Companies will accept the 2012 Minnesota Keystone Honored Company award from Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce. This award will be given to three companies this year: KTTC, Wells Fargo and Coughlan Companies.
We have many projects that we support, but I’d like to share the projects that I’ve been working on lately:
1. Capstone Literacy Center: Currently housed in our Mankato office, the center serves children ages 5 to adult who have moderate to severe reading disabilities. Dr. Andrew Johnson from Minnesota State University- Mankato runs this program that focuses on a holistic approach to reading by using Capstone Digital’s myON Reader along with one-on-one instruction.
2. Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF): We have worked with SMIF for over 10 years, every year giving them 10,000 books for their Bookstart program (the books are given to organizations which then give the books to children). We recently started a program of giving 24-hour access to myON Reader to three Southern Minnesota communities to help improve each community’s reading skills.
3. Great Mankato Area United Way: Every month we donate books to the Books for Kids program to start home libraries for children ages 2 months to 5 years. Research shows that reading at an early age increases school readiness, and that reading aloud to a child inspires them to become life-long learners.
I’m proud to be on this committee, and I look forward to working on these and many more projects as the opportunities arrive!
It’s a scary thought to think that some kids today do not have access to books in their home. It’s even scarier to think that kids who are not reading by the 3rd grade are more likely to drop out of high school.
Imagine though if every student had access to books, inspirational teachers/mentors that would provide a path to success...
Good news, it’s happening in Jackson Mississippi through a collaboration between Mission First, Juanita Sims Doty Foundation, International Community Ambassadors Network (I!CAN), Jackson Public Schools (JPS) after school program and Capstone Digital. Eleven 4th and 5th grade students participating in the after school program wrote their own creative stories centered around their experiences, their heroes and their imagination. This collection of stories were published in the book, I!Can Imagine: Mission First Young Authors.
On Monday, these students were featured during a presentation and book signing at the West-Jackson Campus of Mission First. The presentation was attended by key community dignitaries and special guests including: Dr. Gray, JPS Superintendent, MS Monica Gilmore-Love, Chairman JPS Board of Trustees, Mr. Lee Thigpen, Mission First Executive Director, Ms. Laura Beasley, Mission First Education Program Director, Dr. Juanita Sims Doty, Chairman of the Board JSD Foundation, MNS. Karla McCullough Executive Director of JSD Foundation/I!CAN, Todd Brekhus, President of Capstone Digital and parents and friend of the authors.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in this joint effort. We look forward to the bright future of these authors, who could be on the NY Times best seller list in the future!
It wasn’t until I started working at Capstone that I realized how much kids LOVE books. I'll be honest—growing up I wasn’t a huge reader. So I figured that, like me, kids today would rather play with toys than read books. Luckily, this isn’t always the case. One of the perks of working here is that we get free books every now and then. I keep some for myself, but thoroughly enjoy giving them to others as well. My teacher friends are so appreciative of any free book they can get their hands on. But even more so, they love the products we make. And then there are all my young friends who frequently get Capstone books as birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, or just because I like giving in general.
One of my recent gift recipients was my little friend Knox. He just turned three at the end of July, and for
his birthday I bestowed upon him some Fall 2012 new releases, including Show Me Transportation, Zoo Hideout, Penguins in the Batcave, Henry Helps Clean His Room, and Henry Helps Make Cookies. Even though Knox received some amazing toys, I’m pretty sure he loved the books I gave him just as much. His mom informed me that when he opened his gift he shouted, “ I love these books!” I think that’s all I need to reaffirm how awesome my job is.
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