NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – It isn’t often that believing in yourself, art appreciation and the history of a community can be taught in one short lesson, but that’s exactly what happened during Monday’s Read Around The Town in Northbridge.
Children and their caregivers gathered on the plaza of the Whitin Mill on Douglas Road for this week’s summer reading program, a partnership between the Northbridge School System and Whitinsville Social Library.
Tom Saupe, director of community outreach for Alternatives Unlimited, read the book “The Dot’’ by Peter H. Reynolds. It is about a child who learns that even a dot can become a beautiful piece of art — all one has to do is try.
In Saupe's talk in the Singh Theater, created in the Whitin Mill restoration, he told the kids about the mission of Alternatives, which is to help people with unseen disabilities. Just like the teacher in the book helped the student believe he could be an artist, Alternatives does the same for people with disabilities. “We help them find a way to do what they want to do in their life,’’ Saupe said.
Saupe then lead a tour through the Spaulding Aldrich Art Gallery located in the same mill building that houses the theater and the office space for Alternatives. The gallery is currently displaying the photography of Stephen G. Maka.
Then he took the children to another restored building, the red brick mill built in 1826. “This mill is going to be a museum in the very near future,’’ he said.
Workers at the mill made heavy duty hoes, which were shipped down South and used on the cotton fields. That cotton was then shipped north and turned thread.
The mill’s address was once South Northbridge, Saupe said, but it was changed to Whitinsville for the family that once owned most of the town – the Whitins.
Next week’s Read Around The Town will be held at Northbridge Town Hall, 7 Main St., where Town Manager Ted Kozak will explain town government to the children and read them a book.