Third Power of the Purse event a success

Staff Writer

The main theme of the evening was “Purses with Power.” Thursday evening approximately 350 women from around Whitley County and the surrounding areas met at the Whitley County 4-H Center for the third annual Power of the Purse event, hosted by the United Way of Whitley County.
The purpose of the program is to raise funds for the Kindergarten Countdown program.
“We’re celebrating 7,768 children living in Whitley County,” said Linda Jackson, emcee for the evening. “They are our future. They will be the business leaders not long from now, they will be the workforce, maybe even someday president... Purses with purpose. By joining this group tonight you are making such a difference in the lives of children.”
Kindergarten Countdown is a two-week, all-day program at Mary Raber Elementary School that takes place just before the school year begins.
The two-week period focuses on preparing the students for what to expect and helps sharpen their skills for when school begins.
During the day the students are read to, teachers work with them on letters and sounds, but most activities are spent building fine motor skills and learning to share, listen, stand in line and more.
Teachers say the program truly helps, adding they see a vast difference between the first day the students take part in the program and the last.
The money raised goes to pay for the teachers, class supplies for the two weeks, for bus transportation for the students to practice riding the bus before the school year begins and also goes to backpacks. In each backpack are the school supplies the student needs to begin their school year along with five reading books.
“That program is crucial. Children are beginning school much more prepared, relaxed and confident,” said Jackson.