Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Event promotes literacy

April 2, 2001
Munn Ice Arena and members of the MSU frozen four hockey team sponsored a charity open skate on Friday night to buy books for children. Future hockey star Devon Pasko of Lansing gets some tips from Kari Smith and Spartan Steve Clark. —

Students, adults and children went skating Friday to help wipe out illiteracy.

The Student Michigan Education Association and the Capital Area Literacy Coalition held the annual Skate for Literacy program.

The event, held at Munn Ice Arena, is a charity to buy books and other educational items for children. The public donates money to ice skate at the arena.

“It’s fun for us and we are getting the word out there about literacy,” said Cheri Messerknecht, an education senior and Student Michigan Education Association co-president.

The coalition tutors children and offers the children a book to take home after each tutoring session.

“We chose to donate the money to literacy because we knew kids sometimes struggle with reading,” Messerknecht said.

The student group has traditionally used ice skating as a fund-raiser and the public seems to enjoy it.

“It’s something people don’t get a chance to do and the students got to ice skate where the hockey team plays,” she said. “We helped the community and had fun at the same time.”

One of the highlights of the evening was when Sparty, along with MSU hockey players junior defenseman Jon Insana, sophomore defenseman Brad Fast, junior right wing Adam Hall, sophomore right wing Kris Koski, senior left wing Damon Whitten and sophomore left wing Steve Clark arrived to skate with the public.

“They stayed almost to the end, helping kids, picking them up when they fell down,” Messerknecht said.

She also said the entire team signed a hockey stick for a raffle at the end of the evening.

Insana, who had done some work with the Student Literacy Program, said he was happy to help out.

“I figured it would be a good time,” he said.

He said he had read to elementary students in the past and knew this was an important charity.

“I think it helps solidify that reading is important and we are student athletes so academics are pretty significant,” Insana said.

Along with the hockey stick, the organization had gift certificates from local restaurants and stores. Messerknecht said Jimmy’s Pub, 3139 E. Grand River Ave. in Lansing, donated some gift certificates, and group members also purchased certificates from Gap, 435 E. Grand River Ave., and Melting Moments, 313 E. Grand River Ave.

Those who came to skate seemed to like the idea of the event.

“It gives everyone something to do and it’s for a good cause,” supply chain management junior Will Knibloe said.

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