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Springs caf features Milestones Project photos and book

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Dazbog Coffee is warm and cheery; firelight flickers on a couch. The ceiling is red, and delicious smells of coffee waft in the air, but the real draw is the group of photos on the back wall -- large and dramatic pictures of children, kids in Ireland and Malaysia and St. Lucia and Sri Lanka, doing what kids do everywhere: getting haircuts, losing teeth, making friends, going to school for the first time. These are pictures of milestones, and sharing them is what The Milestones Project is all about.

It's a way to teach tolerance and promote diversity, says Cec Wagner who, with her husband and daughter, co-owns the only Springs location of Dazbog Coffeehouse. The Wagner-Wood family first learned of The Milestones Project from the founders of their parent company (Dazbog in Denver), two Russian-American brothers who are friends of The Milestones Project producers, Dr. Richard and Michele Steckel. The Steckels began documenting worldwide childhood experiences with a single camera. Now they have a living, growing' archive of more than 23,000 National Geographic-quality photographs. The Steckels will come to the Springs to discuss and sign their book The Milestones Project at Dazbog on Saturday, Dec. 11.

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It's an engaging, colorful celebration of a book: 64 pages of bright photographs and original writings by children's authors, illustrators and advocates as diverse as Walter Cronkite, Raffi and J.K. Rowling. Contributors write about tolerance and starting over in new places, about being teased and being loved. Kids write in the book also, speaking for themselves.

The book is a bargain at $20 and promotes nothing more complicated than communication, a sharing of core experiences. Funny, realistic and empathy provoking, The Milestones Project would be an appropriate gift for any person, or school, or church.

-- J.N. Nail

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capsule Dr. Richard and Michele Steckel will sign The Milestones Project book

Dazbog Coffee, 7142 N. Academy Blvd., just north of Woodmen

Saturday, Dec. 11, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

For more, call 272-0505 or visit www.dazbog.com or www.milestonesproject.com

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