by Laura Gonzales
CIMARRON — I, Laura Gonzales, Bookmobile Manager, was the organizer of the Build A Better World for the 2017 summer reading program/ mural project.
In February/March 2017 I contacted local artist Melinda Marlow and presented the idea of painting a mural on the west side of the city hall building in Cimarron, NM. Marlow loved the idea, and so I took it to a local council meeting and asked for permission to use the wall. I thought the mural would be a good community project and would brighten up our town. Unanimously, the council approved the idea. I began presenting the idea to local ranches and clubs asking for donations to cover the costs of the project. We were so lucky and grateful that we were able to receive numerous donations to fund the entire project and run the reading program from various businesses and ranches in the area.
Marlow, Library Tech-O Phillip Saiz, and I met with a group of kids from the Cimarron Elementary/Middle School to see what they thought building a better world was all about. The kids excitedly shot out numerous words and phrases at us. Marlow took these ideas and drew up a sketch of what we all agreed should go on the wall.
Summer reading program started on June 2 and ran 9 weeks, every Friday, through July 28. We had a total of 64 kids registered. Each week we consistently had 40 kids participate in the program. Every child that was registered had the opportunity to work on the mural. It was certainly the highlight of their summer!
On July 28, we celebrated the end of reading program. Every child received a backpack with school supplies, and some received bikes and gift cards based on attendance, reading skills and attitude. This was the highest participation we have had at summer reading program. Over 500 books were read either in the library or at home. We had the mural dedication in the park with many of our wonderful citizens in the community joining us.
In May of 2017, my Mother (Fabiola Gonzales) passed away. She had worked for the schools for many years and the children of this community really loved her. Marlow thought it would be a wonderful thing to dedicate the mural in her name. The ribbon was cut and the dedication was made in honor of my mother.