Friday, June 13, 2008

Reader To Reader Receives Dakin Award

(Excerpted from the Amherst Bulletin)

Where Movers, Shakers Live Up To Reputation

Bulletin Contributing Writer
Published on June 13, 2008

This year's Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce awards presentation was a night for celebrations, socializing and - in keeping with the "Movers and Shakers" theme - belly dancing by some of the town's most prominent citizens.

The celebrations, held June 5 at the Robert Crown Center gymnasium at Hampshire College, started off with a cocktail hour and quickly took on the air of a high school reunion as guests poured in and friends and business colleagues discussed everything from recent political news to the NBA finals, and this year's award recipients. An estimated 400 people packed the hall.

Each recipient had a small display on the side of the room, featuring collages of pictures, various awards and letters from state and national officials, and even a looping video display.

Patty Brandts, executive director of the Chamber, and Cinda Jones, its president, engaged in a comic back-and-forth introducing the award recipients and showcasing the growth of the Chamber, noting that since 1995 the organization has added 300 members, and the awards dinner has quadrupled in attendance.

The two then called each recipient on stage to speak, accompanied by their own theme song.

David Mazor came to the stage to the tune of "You Oughta Be in Pictures," referencing his previous work in the film industry. Mazor received the Dakin Award in Human Services for founding the "Reader To Reader" program, which helps build libraries and get books to poor communities, and has its headquarters at Amherst College.

Mazor was quick to thank his wife and volunteers for their contributions.

"When you do a thing like this it begins as your own dream, and doesn't turn into an organization unless a lot of other people pick up the same dream," said Mazor, who accepted the award "on behalf of all the people involved with Reader To Reader."

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