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Scrabble Fest taps NewsChannel 9’s Christie Casciano for Master of Ceremonies

OSWEGO, NY – Meg Henderson, coordinator of Literacy Volunteers, has announced that NewsChannel 9 News Anchor Christie Casciano will serve as the emcee for Literacy Volunteers’ eoghth annual Diane Falise Memorial Scrabble Fest.

A veteran of the Central New York news scene, Casciano anchors the 11 p.m. newscast on NewsChannel 9 as well as the 10 p.m. newscast on digital channel 9.2.

Christie Casciano
Christie Casciano

She has covered many major stories that have impacted the Central New York community and developed NewsChannel 9’s OnTheLookout.net, a crime franchise that has been recognized statewide for its efforts to help keep neighborhoods safe.

“We are thrilled to have Christie as our master of ceremonies,” said Henderson. “Her willingness to improve literacy whenever possible and her enthusiasm for Scrabble will add even more excitement to this year’s Scrabble Fest.”

A recipient of numerous community and professional awards including the Syracuse Press Club’s Professional Standards Award, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Award, and The New York State Gang Violence Task Force Media Award, Casciano also received a proclamation from the Onondaga County Executive naming December 29, 2012, as Christie Casciano Day.

When invited to emcee, Casciano was honored to be help such a worthy cause as literacy.

“When I received the invitation from Meg I was sold with the first line, ‘As you are aware, reading is the foundation to success.’ I knew then that we were on the same page with our goals. I have developed a school program called ‘Read, Write and Assist’ to help promote and encourage a love for reading, writing and assisting by using my hockey themed books as the hook,” said Casciano.

The inspiration for her hockey books came from seeing the dedication that her hockey-playing children had for the team and their teammates.

“I decided to write a book that could help children internalize the importance of teamwork and using their gifts to help others achieve their goals – the message being, a real star makes everyone shine.  I’ve received letters from children and parents from around the country thrilled with the story and the message. I even received drawings from children in Wasilla, Alaska, who told me The Puck Hog is their favorite book in their school library. Letters from moms who have young hockey playing boys, who weren’t avid readers, have thanked me for igniting the spark that got their boys reading. That is rewarding beyond words,” said Casciano.

Scrabble Fest, one of Oswego County’s most entertaining fundraisers, offers devotees of the game Scrabble the opportunity to enjoy an evening of friendly competition and more.

“Scrabble Fest is much more than just another fundraiser,” said Henderson. “Scrabble Fest is also a way to raise awareness of Literacy Volunteers and our efforts to combat the issue of illiteracy in Oswego County. Literacy Volunteers offers the opportunity for adult students to gain the literary skills and computer skills necessary for daily activities, gaining employment, and more.”

“Promoting literacy should be at the top of everyone’s list,” added Casciano.  “The efforts of Literacy Volunteers have created many success stories.  It truly is improving lives and communities.”

As for her thoughts on the game of Scrabble Casciano said,  “It’s scrabulus, of course! I enjoy playing it with my kids.”

Scrabble Fest will take place September 19 at the Oswego Elks Lodge, 132 W. Fifth St. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and games will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. with teams of four competing against each other in four 20-minute rounds. Team scores will then be tallied and prizes will be awarded for the first, second and third place teams.

New to this year’s event is the introduction of the ‘Golden Tile.’

In recognition of Literacy Volunteers’ 50th anniversary, teams will be able to purchase a limited number of ‘Golden Tiles’ that will play as a blank tile and can be used for the letter of their choice during each round of play.

In addition to the competition, the fundraiser also includes a silent auction, a NYS Lottery ticket package, 50 / 50 drawing, and the first-ever Literacy Volunteers raffle with a chance to win a set of four One Day Park Hopper Passes that are valid during normal operating hours and provide admission to a magical experience at the Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom, along with other great prizes – a pair of emerald earrings in settings of white gold, donated by Bridge Street Jewelers, and a multicolored, handmade full-sized quilt.

Register your team today by calling 315-598-4711, e-mailing [email protected] or visit www.oco.org

As all proceeds from Scrabble Fest benefit Literacy Volunteers the event serves as its major fundraiser and helps raise awareness of Literacy Volunteers’ efforts to increase literacy in Oswego County.

A program of Oswego County Opportunities Education Services, Literacy Volunteers provides confidential services at no cost to the students such as: Basic Literacy that includes reading, writing and simple math skills; English Literacy to improve English speaking, reading and writing skills; and Computer Literacy to teach basic computer skills.

OCO is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 80 separate locations.

For more information, visit www.oco.org