Amiee Erfourth, Principal of the Betsie Valley Elementary School in Thompsonville, gave us an update on the RIF (Reading is Fundamental) Program, as well as a description of the ongoing project to create the Betsie Valley Neighborhood Center.
The RIF program makes books available to elementary students throughout Benzie County. Originally run by the Kiwanis Club, this is the second year that Sunrise Rotary has been involved. In addition to supplying funds for the purchase of books, Sunrise Rotary has provided a speaker to come in and read to the students. Amiee hopes that more Rotarians will follow suit and read to the kids.
The effort to create a Betsie Valley Neighborhood Center is not a project of the school, but rather of the community. The goal of the project is to create a multi-purpose community center in Thompsonville for all ages and needs. The community in question is a remote, spread-out area that encompasses parts of both Benzie and Manistee Counties. The project is in the planning phase, and the group is receiving $10,000 from Rotary Charities for strategic planning.  Among the project's priorities are child care, extended day care, and licensed health care.  Proposed facilities include a gym, shower and laundry facilities, as well as a teaching kitchen and office space for educational and other purposes.