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Center to host bunco fundraiser

COVINGTON - If you want to help prepare children for school, The Learning Center is making that as easy as a roll of the dice.

This Friday, The Learning Center will sponsor a Ladies Big Bunco tournament from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at The Center on Washington Street, with proceeds to benefit programs aimed at preparing children through age 4 for their upcoming school days.

The event is for women only and is meant to be a fun and relaxing way to help a good cause, Learning Center Executive Director Mollie Melvin said.

"It's less of a game and more of a social occasion," Melvin said.

The Learning Center has held several of these fundraisers over the years, and Melvin said often participants who've never played bunco are intimidated.

But the game is actually quite simple: Two teams of two roll dice in sequence. The team with the highest score advances to another table, while the low scoring team remains at the same table. At the end of the evening, the individuals with the highest and lowest scores will receive prizes.

Tickets to the event are $20 per player, with proceeds to benefit Learning Center programs such as Leap Into Books, a 30-minute workshop for adults at which children age 4 and younger are signed up to receive a hardback book every month until their fifth birthday.

"The books are provided by the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and are full-size board and picture books that you can buy at chain bookstores," Melvin said. "In fact, the books are the single greatest program expense of our organization, and we offer it to any eligible child totally free of charge."

The Dollywood Foundation requires The Learning Center to raise the money locally to pay for books at a cost of approximately $35 per year per child, which is much less than the actual retail cost of the books, Melvin said.

The Learning Center provides Imagination Library books to more than 1,000 Newton County children each month.

In 2008, The Learning Center will also offer programs that show how parents can use music, nutrition and theater activities to stimulate their young child's mind.

Tickets to Friday's event can be purchased by calling 770-787-2778 or visiting www.leapintobooks.org.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with practice beginning at 7 and the game starting at 7:15 p.m.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.