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Munchkin Mondays at mall to wrap up next week
munchkin monday
During Monday Munchkin at Three Star Mall, some of the kids show Dunkin the therapy dog some love. Pictured, from left, are Breely Messick, Ellie Mason, Emma McCormick and Kaylan Garcia. Munchkin Monday is an event put together by Helping Animals of Warren County (HAWC) and Three Star Mall to educate children about animals as well as enrich them with stories. It takes place every Monday during June and July at 10:30 a.m. - photo by Nikki Childers

The Munchkin Mondays free summer reading program at Three Star Mall is coming to an end after a successful season of fun and educational activities.

Munchkin Mondays ends this coming Monday, July 29, with the program beginning at 10:30 a.m. Munchkin Mondays is sponsored by HAWC, Helping Animals of Warren County, and Shoe Sensation, which provides the snacks and refreshments during the reading sessions.

A variety of books have been read to children from infants to 8-year-olds. Pacesetters will bring some of its patients to enjoy the entertainment as well.

This is the first year for Munchkin Mondays. Three Star Mall manager Sigourney Younglove developed the program to get children interested in reading and helping them realize learning can be enjoyable.

“If you look at statistics, children who read or are read to 20 minutes a day come out ahead with more knowledge and a higher vocabulary, which will help them throughout their entire school career,” says Younglove.

The collaboration with HAWC has been a success. The combination of bringing a service dog named Dunkin, wearing costumes on stage and interacting with the children while reading everything from Dr. Seuss to animal-related books allows the kids to become more involved in the reading experience.

Last week, Patty Allen of HAWC dressed as Dr. Seuss with Dunkin by her side to read the famous author’s books. Costumes, including a fox and squirrel, were worn during the reading of the book “Wonderlands of the Forest.”

“The other day I had the kids howl like the dog in the book, allowing them to interact and become more involved in the story while using their imaginations,” said HAWC president Hollie Cox.  

Cox has thoroughly enjoyed having HAWC be a part of Munchkin Mondays and gaining exposure through sponsoring the reading program.

“We wanted to teach the younger kids about our organization and how to interact and care for animals. We also inform the families of the different services we provide,” says Cox. “The children love seeing Dunkin.”

Approximately 26 kids came to Three Star Mall last Monday to participate in the reading program, which lasts between 30-45 minutes. 

Younglove and Cox hope to hold Munchkin Mondays throughout the year instead of just during the summer months. Many people who have come to Munchkin Mondays are sad to see it end. If the program lasts throughout the year, it would be held every two weeks in the evening.

 “There are many benefits of Munchkin Mondays, including bringing people into the mall which helps the businesses, giving the children something fun and educational to do and helping HAWC reach a younger generation so if they need our services in the future, they are already familiar with our program,” says Cox.