Archive for May, 2013

Free Local Summer Camp

Per Community Matters:

“If you are looking for your child to be involved in a fun and safe environment, then look no more. CommUnity Matters is offering a program at the Champaign Park District Douglass Comm. Center and still have a few openings left.

The program is combined with the Douglass Camp and focuses on three key elements: education, sports and a great deal of fun. We serve breakfast, lunch, and snack as well as go swimming twice a week, local outings, and out of town trips.

Camp will begin on Monday, June 3rd thru Friday, August 2 from 7:30am-5:30pm. So if you live or know someone who lives in the Garden Hills, Bristol Park, Beardsley Park, and Douglass Park Neighborhood please send them to the Douglass Community Center to sign-up.

This program is on a First Come First Serve basis, but residents must be able to provide proof of residency. Cost for this camp $0.”


Oklahoma Tornado Relief Drive

The Champaign Unit 4 PTA Council is holding a supply drive for the Oklahoma tornado victims. The drive will run from Wednesday, May 23rd to Wednesday, May 29th. Each of the 16 Unit 4 schools will receive a collection box.

Financial donations can be made to PNC Bank under the Champaign Unit 4 PTA Council’s account.

These are items we request for donation. Please only donate items that are on these lists.


Cleaning Supplies:

5 gallon bucket with resealable lid

Liquid laundry detergent – 25 oz. 50 oz. bottles only

Liquid household cleaner – 12-16 oz. liquid cleaner that can be mixed with water no spray cleaners

Dish soap – 16-28 oz bottle any brand

Cans air freshener – aerosol or pump

Insect repellant – spray 6-14 oz. aerosol or spray pump with protective cover

Scrub brush – plastic or wooden handle

Cleaning wipes – handi wipes or reusable wipes


Scouring pads – Brillo pads or SOS pads (nothing with soap built in) no stainless steel


Clothes line – two 50 ft. or one 100 ft. cotton or plastic.

Rolls of heavy duty trash bags – 33-45 gallon

Dust masks

Pairs of disposable kitchen gloves – rubber or latex “no thin surgical or food service type gloves”

Pairs of work gloves cotton with leather palm or all leather


School Supplies:

Blunt scissors – rounded tip only no plastic scissors please

Pads of paper – 8 1/2 x 11 spiral notebooks or top-bound pads

Packages of loose leaf sheets can be substituted for 1 pad – combinations of spiral or top bound is acceptable. No composition books

Hand held pencil sharpeners – must be at least one inch long

30 centimeter rulers – hard or flexible cartoon characters are acceptable no advertisements please

Unsharpened pencils

2 ½ inch erasers

24 count boxes of crayons – only 24 count boxes please

14”x16” – cloth bags heavy duty fabric only‐ denim, corduroy, drapery fabric etc.


There will be a need for parent volunteers to assist with the sorting process. If any parents would like to volunteer with this please contact Sheri Williamson 217-721-6540 or


A big THANK YOU to the following companies/people for helping make this drive possible!

Dixon Graphics for donating the print job of the posters. 

Home Depot for donating the collection boxes. 

Chris Hamb, local web designer, for designing our poster. 


And our friends in local media who helped us promote this effort. We would love to have the entire community involved in helping those in Moore, OK. 

Mike Haile @ LiteRock, WDWS

Diane Ducey, Josh Laskowski, Stevie Jay @ SJ Broadcasting

Doug Quick @ WICD



More reasons to read to your children… all through life (via


The article is titled “7 Reasons Why You MUST Read Aloud To Your Kids At All Ages.” It encourages parents to read to their students. There were a lot of great reasons shared. Highlighted below are two of the reasons that I wanted to focus on as they may be ones that parents don’t consider.

“3. It’s a great way to talk about emotional health. We talk about the things that happen in the stories, how we would feel if they happened to us, and how we might deal with such events the same or differently. Books have helped me broach topics that I might not have thought to raise if it weren’t for the subject matter in the story.”

Mental health in our children is incredibly important. There can be early signs of the onset of a mental health disorder. Parents who are engaged with their children on a regular basis can be more in tune with those developments as they occur.

“6. You get a wealth of information on where your children might need help.  Through reading aloud to my children I’ve been able to teach them the meaning of words they still didn’t understand. They have better vocabularies. They have better comprehension skills and understanding of abstract concepts. And reading allows them to excel not just in language arts, but in all of their subjects. I’ve been able to see when my daughter was ready to read on her own — she started pushing me out of the way and reading the words herself — and also to see if and when she needs help.”

One of the programs the PTA Council and I are working on a is a summer reading program. In addition to the summer program I’m working with district administrators to design a parent workshop on dyslexia. Again, early signs of learning disabilities or even minor struggles students have can be observed by parents who are involved with all areas of their children’s lives.


Early intervention is so key in helping children develop. Just by devoting 15 minutes each evening a parent can be the proactive cheerleader their child needs.


You can read the entire article here:


Unit 4 School Libraries – Summer Hours

Per Unit 4:

Select Unit 4 school libraries will be open over the summer. Students may visit the schools to browse books, check out books, and participate in reading and learning activities.

Elementary School Students may visit:

Garden Hills                        Mondays                             9:00-11:00AM

Carrie Busey                       Tuesdays                            2:00-4:00PM

South Side                           Wednesdays                     12:00-2:00PM

Stratton                                 Thursdays                          9:00-11:00AM

Dr. Howard                          Fridays                                 9:00-11:00AM

Middle School Students may visit:

Jefferson                             Mondays                             12:00-2:00PM

High School Students may visit:

Centennial                          Wednesdays                      12:00-2:00PM

Supper with the Superintendent

Per Unit 4:

On Sunday, June 2, Champaign Unit #4 School District will hold a Sunday BBQ with the Superintendent at Garden Hills Elementary School from 1-3 p.m. The community is invited to meet with Superintendent Dr. Judy Wiegand, Executive Director of Human Resources Mr. Ken Kleber, Executive Director of Business Services Mr. Matthew Foster, and Assistant Superintendents Dr. Susan Zola (Elementary), Ms. Angela Smith (Middle School), and Dr. Laura Taylor (High School).

Quarterly Suppers with the Superintendent are designed to continue the conversation between community members and school district administration. All are welcome to attend.

The Sunday BBQ will feature information about summer activities and resources from the District’s community partners such as the Garden Hills Neighborhood Association, Champaign Park District, Jericho Baptist Church, the City of Champaign, and more. Food will be provided by Texas Roadhouse and music will be provided courtesy of Stevie Jay Broadcasting. Kids are welcome to play in the park and participate in activities provided by the Champaign Park District.


The Unit 4 PTA Council will have a booth at the BBQ. Students who are participating in the Council’s Summer Learning Program are invited to attend and pick out a brand new (free) book to kick off their summer reading! Parents can ask questions about the program as well as meet their council elected officials. 


Local Summer Events

Barnes & Noble

Date:     June 2nd 2:00pm

Event:   Beach Theme Storytime

Bring your little ones to Barnes & Noble on Sunday afternoon for a Beach themed storytime. We       will be reading from Splish-Splash Splat, Ladybug, Girl at the Beach, and Bats at the Beach.

Date:     June 7th 11:00am and 3:00pm     June 8th 11:00am    June 9th 2:00pm

Event:   Beat the Heat Story time

 Bring your little ones to Barnes & Noble to beat the summer heat. We will be reading “Summer Vacation” “Road Trip” and “Summer Camp”.

Date:     June 14th 11:00am

Event:   Father’s Day Storytime

Join us in the Children’s department for our 11:00am Toddler Storytime. We will be reading “Kisses for Daddy” by Frances Watts. After Storytime there will be a card craft.

Date:     June 14th 3:00pm

Event:   Father’s Day Storytime

Join us in the children’s department for a Storytime celebrating Fathers Day weekend. We will be reading “Because I’m Your Dad” and will have Father’s Day Cards to decorate after the Storytime.

Date:     June 15th  11:00 and

Event:   Father’s Day Storytime

Join us in the Children’s department for our special “Daddies Do It Different” Storytime. After storytime there will be a Father’s Day card craft.

Date:     June 16th 2:00pm

Event:   “Hop on Pop” Storytime

Children of all ages are invited to experience the joy of reading and storytelling through the classic style of Dr. Seuss. Hop on Pop will be our featured story. After Storytime there will be a craft and cookies!

Date:     June 21st 11:00am

Event:   LeapFrog Letter Factory

We’re having fun with phonics at a Hands-On Learning event with LeapFrog Letter Factory. Kids ages 3-6 are invited to create words and sing alphabet songs!

Date:     June 22nd 11:00am

Event:   Summer Reading Celebration

Come into Barnes & Noble to celebrate Summer Reading. Bring in your completed journals and receive a free book from the list provided on the back of the reading journals. For some added fun we will have games like Book charades.

Date:     June 27th 7:00pm

Event:   Explore the Galaxy with Klutz

Explore the Sky at a Hands-On Learning event for kids 7 and up. Learn fun facts while exploring creativity designing and coloring galactic stickers!

Scholastic Summer Reading:

The Champaign Public Library:

Summer Reading Program

“Fun Stuff”

Book recommendations by grade

“Homework Help”

Half Price Books

By reading for at least 15 minutes each day in June and July children 14 and younger can earn $5 in Half Price Books Back to School Bucks. Children will need to join the Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program. There is a reading log that parents can download. Children can read to parents or have parents read to them to meet the 15 minute requirement.

Chuck E. Cheese

Children who read for 2 weeks in a row can earn free tokens at Chuck E. Cheese. For every 2 weeks of reading children can earn 10 free tokens to be used at your local Chuck E. Cheese location. The form can be printed here. This offer is good through December 31, 2013.

Local Summer Fun including fairs, Twin City Derby Girls’ bouts, and local festivals:

The dates are for 2011, but most of the events and ideas are relevant for Summer 2013. It’s a comprehensive list activities in of C-U (and the surrounding area).

University of Illinois Summer Camps:

University of Illinois Summer Activities:

Ideas for Summer Road Trips around Illinois:

Other ideas for local activities/camps:


Fun Day Trips

Free admission into museums across America thanks to Blue Star Moms: Free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families to more that 2,000 museums across America from Memorial day, May 27, through Labor Day, September 2, 2013. Thanks to Blue Star Moms!


Free Activities

All summer long kids bowl free across the USA. Click the link below for more details and to find a location near you.

PTA Council Read-A-Thon

Work your brain muscle this summer. The Champaign PTA Council and UI Office of Volunteer programs are holding activity nights at the Champaign Library, 200 W Green St Champaign and the Douglass Community Center, 512 E Grove St Champaign. Each will begin at 6:30pm. The first half hour will be devoted to individual tutoring from UI students. From 7-8pm students will be split into groups for themed activities.

June 18- Literacy (read-a-thon forms due) @ Champaign Public Library

July 10th– Science @ Douglass Community Center

July 24th– Geography (read-a-thon books available for pick-up) @ Douglass Community Center

August 7th– Math (read-a-thon books available for pick-up) @ Champaign Public Library


Reader’s Name: _____________________

School Name_________________________ Grade: _______Phone # ____________________
Email (for any questions we might have)_________________________

Total collected:$_______ (make check payable to Champaign PTA Council)

70% of pledges (this is the amount you get to spend) $________


How it works:

1) Decide how many minutes you want to read from June 3 through 17th.

2) Collect sponsorships from family and friends.

3) Read!- Write down how many minutes you read each day.

3) Pick out the books you want from

(You will get to spend 70% of the amount collected on books)

4) Turn in pledges and book order form at the first activity night on June 18.

5) Thank your sponsors!

6) Books will be available for pick-up at the Summer Activity Nights July 24th and August 7.

You will receive books of your choice with 70% of the money you collect! The other 30% will go back into the Unit 4 PTA Council’s Summer Reading Programming! Remember to pick out your books at

Please contact Anna Simon at or Sheri Williamson at or 217-721-6540 with questions.

Summer Bridge books can still be ordered through the Barnes & Noble website.

Unit 4 Summer Reading Program