ST. SIMONS ISLAND ROTARY CLUB
Local District Grants received for Literacy
School years normally end with a slew of celebrations for students of all ages.
Among those commemorative events is usually a party hosted for younger students by the Reading Rockets, a volunteer reader program of the Marshes of Glynn Libraries sponsored and supported by the Rotary Club of St. Simons Island.
For 10 years, the library and SSI Rotary have collaborated to read and provide books to children in pre-K and kindergarten classes in Glynn County Schools. Last year, the program expanded to include reading to the children in Head Start classrooms as well. The program is funded by a grant awarded to the Rotary Club.
"In years past, we have celebrated the end of the school year and the beginning of summer by having parties in the classrooms with the kids and giving each of them a 'graduation' book to take home and to read over the summer," said Linda Muir, literacy committee chair for the St. Simons Rotary. "This year, we were disappointed that the school year ended early, and we were not able to say goodbye to the kids or to give them a celebration, a book and a Reading Rockets button to show that they had become Reading Rocket Kids."
Instead, the program's volunteers found a different way to let the students know how much they care about their longterm literacy education.
"Despite the interruptions of the COVID-19 crisis, we wanted to be sure that the grant funds were used in a way that would further the goals of the program to encourage children to read, especially over the summer while they are out of school so they can avoid the summer slide that sometimes occurs," Muir said. "We had to make a lemonade out of a lemon to make sure that the kids had a special year-end experience despite the need to shelter at home."
More than 700 students who participated in the Reading Rockets program received an "I Can Read" book through the mail, in a package addressed to them. Staff and volunteers from the library, Rotary Club, school system and Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority, which operates the Head Start Program, came together to package the books and mail them out.
The students also received a Reading Rockets button and a letter for the children and their parents, offering congratulations and encouraging them to keep reading over the summer.
Over the school year, Reading Rockets volunteers -- who are drawn from SSI Rotarians and members of the community -- read in more than 25 classrooms weekly to reinforce the importance and joy of reading with the children.
"The kids and the volunteers look forward to these sessions, which last about 30 minutes, every week," Muir said. "The volunteers enjoy being with the kids, and the kids benefit from hearing more vocabulary words as well as interesting and fun stories and from knowing that another grown-up in the community cares about them."
It's also hard to understate the importance of helping students maintain their reading skills so that they're reading on grade level.
"Reading on grade level by
the end of third grade is the foundation of success in school,"
Muir said. "The Reading Rockets program is one
of the bricks built into that foundation for these kids."
St. Simons Rotary Scholarship Fund
The scholarship awards vary in number and size each year. The club typically awards scholarships of $2000 per year for 4 years of undergraduate study ($1000 for each of the fall and spring semesters).
The College or University may be located in or outside the state of Georgia, and must be fully accredited. Recipients are selected on the basis of scholarship, leadership, community service and other demonstration of personal character, as well as financial need. Recent awards since 2006 have totaled about $500,000. For more information on this program, visit the Scholarship Page on the club website.
The Rotary Club of Centerville, GA saw the difference READ UNITED was making in kids' lives and brought it to their community. "What we give them is sometimes their best shot and it's working." They've even gotten noticed by the Georgia State Superintendent of Schools, Richard Woods. This year's Juanita T. Jordan Community Impact Award recipient is the Rotary Club of Centerville, GA.
In January, the Centerville Rotary Club celebrated its one-year anniversary of providing a reading program to Centerville Elementary. The Club funds the program to help students improve their reading skills. The Rotarians currently tutor 42 students, an increase over the inaugural year of 16 students.
Read United is an initiative of United Way of Central Georgia to address literacy challenges facing Central Georgia. The program recruits volunteers to tutor kindergarten through third grade students in reading. The volunteers help children increase their reading literacy and become a positive influence in the child's life, thus improving the overall health and wellness of our community.
Learning to read is critical in the early years of childhood because of the shift that occurs in the schools when the child enters grade four. From kindergarten to third grade, a child learns to read. When the child enters grade four, the child reads to learn. If a child does not know how to read, essentially he or she cannot efficiently learn, and a downward spiral occurs.
The Glennville Rotary Club was sponsored by the Savannah West Rotary Club and received its charter in November of 1984. The Savannah West Club supported the early establishment of the Glennville Rotary Club for many years and helped the Club build a strong foundation. The Club had strong and dedicated leaders that built upon that foundation like our late Charter President Jimmy Dubberly who helped shape and build our Club's culture and values that still exist today. We also had leaders like Past President and Charter Member Dr. Troy Rahn our Polio Plus Chair and only club member with perfect attendance and the late Past President and Charter Member Lee Woodcock who helped start our Annual Auction that has been held every year since 1987. We continue to have strong leadership, wonderful fellowship, good Club growth and the desire to do good in our local community and the world. We have demonstrated this by leading the District in per capita giving to the Rotary Foundation for the last four years and using our local share funds to support our Basic Education and Literacy focus.
Early on our leadership and club members wanted to focus on the area of Basic Education and Literacy. With that in mind what follows is the story of how the Glennville Rotary Club has helped to make a difference in Basic Education and Literacy in our Community and around the World. As I mentioned earlier, we started an Annual Rotary Club Dinner Auction in 1987 to raise funds to provide scholarships to area high school seniors. Every year since, 33 years now this Annual Fundraiser has been held in our community. Rotary Club members, Businesses and individuals support and participate by donating funds and items for the dinner auction as well as attending and bidding on the live and silent auction items. We involve many of our local youth to help assist with this event as well. Over the years we have provided over $250,000 in scholarships to over 200 students at Pinewood Christian Academy and Tattnall County High School.
The proceeds from our Scholarship Dinner Auction funds $8000 in scholarships each year. We provide a $2000 Jimmy Dubberly Memorial Scholarship and a $2000 Lee Woodcock Memorial Scholarship along with four (4) $1000 scholarships. Beginning next year with the disbanding of the Reidsville Rotary Club we will pick up their $2000 Jack Hill Memorial Scholarship. This will bring the total scholarships supported by the Glennville Rotary Club each year to $10,000. Past Presidents Darla Kicklighter and Tiffany K Sittle continue to co-chair our annual Dinner Auction.
The Glennville Rotary Club sponsors two Interact Clubs. Along with the Claxton Rotary Club we Co-Sponsor the Pinewood Christian Academy Interact Club and we also sponsor the Interact Club of the Battle Creek Warriors at Tattnall County High School. These students attend Rotary Club meetings from time to time and provide a variety of programs during the year. We involved them in our projects during the year like the Auction mentioned above, our Christmas projects and fund raisers for Polio Plus.
One of the programs that our members look forward to each year is PDG Preston Johnston High School Speech Contest. The Glennville Club has conducted the Annual Speech Contest every year since its inception in 1997. We work with Pinewood Christian Academy and Tattnall County High School to conduct their own speech contest and send their top three contestants to the Glennville Club for the Annual District 6920 High School Speech Competition. The Glennville Club Awards prizes ranging from $200 to the winner, $150 for second and $100 for third. All participants get $50. We send our top two contestants to the Zone competition each year. In 2014 Kathleen Shuman won the Eastern Zone competition and received the $1000 scholarship after giving her speech at the District Conference on Jekyll Island. Over the years hundreds of students have given their speech at the Glennville Rotary Club and many have gone on to the Eastern Zone Competition. Many of these students were Interactors in High School and we even have a few that are now Rotarians.
We also have a "Dictionary Project" that we started in 2011 under Past President Dennis Strickland. Over the past few years we partnered with the Reidsville Rotary Club to distribute these dictionaries to all third grade students in Tattnall County. With the termination of the Reidsville Rotary Club the Glennville Club will continue this project in 2020/2021. This is also a DDG grant project for the Glennville Club. This project is currently Co-Chaired by past Presidents Dennis Strickland and Pam Waters.
In 2014, we begin partnering with The Augusta partnership for Literacy through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to distribute age appropriate books to children in Tattnall County between the ages of birth up to five years old. Members participate by helping to sign up children each year and a book a month is mailed to the applicant's home. Jay Martin, our Grants Chair also chairs this project "Reading Matters" and this is one of the annual District Designated Grant Projects that we apply for each year.
Several years ago under the leadership of then President Pam Waters the Club started a reading project at the local elementary school. Club members would sign up and once a week the member could read a book of their choice or a book provided by the teacher to the elementary class. We are not exactly sure what that will look like this year, but we hope to continue that well into the future.
The Glennville Club supports the Star Student / Star Teacher from Tattnall County High School each year. We pay for their trip to the District event and have them present a special program to our Rotary Club where we honor them for their hard work and dedication.
The Glennville Rotary Club has sponsored around 100 students over the years to attend RYLA on the South Georgia College Campus. These students always return to present a program on "What they learned and how RYLA has influenced their Life".
On the International side of things we have supported basic education and literacy over the years through our early participation in the GRSP back in the late 80's and early 90's. We have also been a sponsoring club for several International Grants that support Basic Education and Literacy
Finally, the Glennville Club has also been very supportive of the STEM Project at South Tattnall Middle School for the last few years. We also participate in a variety of other school and student lead initiatives in our community, like supporting and sponsoring students or clubs to attend leadership training or other competition at the state or national level.
In short, I would say that due to the solid foundation built by our early leaders and the continued dedication of our Club's membership the Glennville Rotary Club has helped to "Open the Doors of Opportunity" for many children and youth throughout Tattnall County when it comes to Basic Education and Literacy.
The Rotary Club of Macon acknowledges that literacy is vital to economic development as well as its community well-being. The club is committed to "Service above Self" and to the mission and goals of Rotary International related to alleviating illiteracy. By partnering with United Way of Central Georgia, the Rotary Club of Macon supports Burdell-Hunt Elementary School's efforts in increasing their students' literacy rates.
Read United, an initiative of United Way of Central Georgia, addresses the literacy challenges facing Central Georgia. Read United recruits volunteers to tutor kindergarten through third grade students in reading. Through tutoring, volunteers help children increase their reading literacy, become a positive influence in the child's life, and improve the overall health and wellness of our community Read United, together with the volunteers of our community, aims to close achievement gaps, increase graduation rates, and disrupt the cycle of poverty. The Rotary Club of Macon has solicited Rotarians to commit to becoming reading volunteers at Burdell-Hunt Elementary.
In addition, United Way sponsors multiple reading celebrations for the elementary schools in the Bibb County School District. One of those celebrations is Jumpstart's Read for the Record. Read for the Record brings together millions of adults and children around the world each year to read the same book on the same day in order to raise awareness about the critical importance of early literacy and access to high-quality books. This year Read for the Record will take place on October 29, 2020. The Rotary Club of Macon was awarded a District Grant to enhance our support of this literacy initiative. With the funds, the club will purchase the Read for the Record book titled Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away. Each Burdell-Hunt Elementary student will receive a copy of the book to enjoy at home with family after a Rotarian reads to the class.
This is a great opportunity for students to encounter support from community members. The students, administrators and staff will recognize that the Rotary Club of Macon has a vested interest in our local students' well-being.
The Valdosta North Rotary Club is proud of its efforts to support basic education and literacy in our community. More than likely if a person can tell time, read a text message or deposit a paycheck, he/she has a teacher to thank for those skills. Each year Valdosta North Rotary Club praises teachers as the unsung heroes of the community and thanks them for what they do.
Valdosta North Rotary hosted its Seventh Annual Teacher Appreciation Dinner to honor the 22 Teachers of the Year from the Valdosta City and Lowndes County school systems on Oct. 1, 2019. More than 1000 teachers and guests attended the banquet. Emmy Award-winning science teacher Steve Spangler was the guest speaker. All funds generated by the dinner over expenditures are donated to Valdosta City Schools and Lowndes Educational Improvement Foundation. Teachers of the year are able to use the funds to purchase materials for their classrooms.
Additionally, recognizing the importance of Early Childhood Education, the Valdosta North Rotary Club in conjunction with the Valdosta Rotary Club donates funds to support Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program in Lowndes County. This program provides registered children with a new book every month from birth to 5th birthday. Lowndes County currently provides books to 1303 children.
To assist with Rotary International's area of focus, Basic Education and Literacy, the Rotary Club of Millen donated 75 dictionaries to Jenkins County Elementary School for the third grade students. Due to COVID-19, we may not have been able to personally deliver these to the students during class, like we have in the past, but we still want to encourage the students to read and learn. This year inside every dictionary cover is a special quote for the students reminding them that they can overcome and achieve any obstacle that comes their way.
"Always be persistent with your goals, keep a strong determination throughout your life, and be confident in yourself, for with this mentality you can accomplish anything!" -Shana Brinson, Rotary Club of Millen President 2020-21.
Since our club was unable to enter the school this year to read to the students due to COVID-19, We started a reading project for National Read a Book Day and titled it, "Come Read With Rotary". This project stretched from September 10th to October 2nd. Our club's Rotarians recorded themselves reading books of their choice and those videos were then shared on our club Facebook page daily, as well as shared with the local Elementary School teachers.
We plan on doing this again in January For National Reading Day and in March for National Read Across America.
In 2018, the Valdosta Rotary Club decided they needed to form a Literacy Fund Committee tasked specifically with the efforts of promoting and supporting literacy in Lowndes County. We formed a 6-person committee and got to work straight away to identify our primary areas of focus. We determined that we would have 3 areas of focus, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, Community Partners in Education, and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College's GED program.
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library was first introduced in Lowndes County in 2009 by then Valdosta Rotary Club President Dennis Marks. This program mails a high quality, age-appropriate, book every month to each registered child from birth to age 5, free of charge to the family. While it is free for the family, there is a cost involved. It takes approximately $125 to fund books for one child from birth to age 5. The Lowndes County Affiliate of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library relies solely on the support of community donors. Since the inception of the program here in Lowndes County, we have enrolled close to 3,800 children. Approximately 1,300 children are currently receiving books. Our club has made a commitment that we will not enroll a child unless we have enough money on hand to pay for his or her books until they graduate the program at age 5. The last thing we want is for the child to quit receiving books before they start school.
We have two main fundraisers to support Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. They both debuted in 2019. The first is our Imaginary Ball to support the Imagination Library. What is an Imaginary Ball, you might ask? It is just as it sounds. It is a Ball that you attend in your imagination! This year, our Ball did NOT take place on August 20th. It did NOT start with refreshments at 6pm and dinner was NOT served at 7pm. There was NO program held at 8pm. As a result, our invitees did NOT have to rent a tuxedo, buy a new dress, spend money at the hair and nail salon, pay a babysitter, spend money on dinner or the cash bar. They also saved 4+ hours of their priceless time! In all, they saved over $675 by attending our Imaginary Ball. The purchase of their ticket entitled them to stay home and relax, spend time with their families, or read to their children or grandchildren. We encouraged our guests to take photos at their Imaginary Ball and post them on social media with our hashtag. The best part is since we hosted this Imaginary Ball, we did not have to spend money on a venue rental, catering charges, room decor, or entertainment. The only expense was printing and mailing the invitations, which was covered by the Club's General Fund. This allowed us to use 100% of the ticket sales to directly benefit Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. Our first year was a great success and we raised over $5,000. We received amazing feedback from the community. We were not sure what to expect this year, but if there was ever a time for an Imaginary Ball, this was the year! We doubled our mailing list and hoped to raise $7,500. We had a stunning "turnout" of over $9,400 raised. This will allow us to enroll more than 75 new children in Lowndes County to start receiving free books and create the spark to becoming lifelong readers.
Our second fundraiser is called the Corporate Charity Challenge. This is an afternoon of fun teambuilding activities that gives local companies the opportunity to compete against other local businesses for year-long bragging rights. Each company enters a team of 4 individuals that compete in 5 events: "Egg" Relay, Cornhole Toss, Chipping Challenge, Relay Sack Race, and Speed Reading (the article they speedread is all about the history and benefits of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library). Each team earns points at each event. The teams with the first, second, and third highest points earn Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals. We offer different levels of sponsorship opportunities, along with team entry fees. We hold the event at the Courthouse Square on the First Friday of October. Our first year was a great success with 20 teams competing. After expenses, we raised right at $5,000. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we chose not to hold the event this year. However, we sent out letters to all the companies that participated last year to announce our decision to cancel but also give them the opportunity to still support Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. As of the time of this writing, we do not have a total to report from this effort.
Community Partners in Education is our second area of focus. This is a partnership between the two local school systems (city and county) and local businesses to encourage active involvement and support from the community for our elementary students. We have been a Community Partner in Education for many years, supporting our assigned schools by volunteering time reading to the students and also by providing some financial support. Our annual goal is to donate $1,000 to each partner school to support their Media Centers. We are in the process of scheduling the check presentation during the month of October for this year.
Our third area of focus was added in 2018 when the Literacy Fund Committee was formed. Our committee wanted to make sure there was also an element of support to promote literacy in adults. After extensive research, we decided to help support the GED Program at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. This program assists adults with obtaining their GED diplomas. While the program itself is funded through grants and is free to the students, there are fees involved to take the actual tests that must be passed in order to obtain the diploma. The total cost of all the tests is $120. This can be a hardship to some adults and has presented a barrier from obtaining their diploma. As a result, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has set up a fund to help those adults in need. Our goal is to donate $1,000 annually to support that fund. We were very proud to present that check last year, and we are planning to schedule the check presentation again this year before the end of the year.
Our main fundraisers for these last two areas of focus come primarily from within the club. A portion of our Happy Dollars goes to the Literacy Fund. We also facilitate a 50/50 raffle with an added twist at each club meeting. Our twist includes an added level of "luck. Not only must your raffle ticket be drawn, then you must draw the Ace of Spades from a deck of cards. If there is no winner, we continue to let the pot build. If no one has won towards the end of the fiscal year, we will usually have a "Raffle-palooza" where we will continue to draw raffle tickets until someone draws the Ace of Spades. We also normally have a Memorial Day BBQ sale, however, that was canceled due to COVID-19 this year. We are tentatively planning a Christmas Wreath sale in its place in November.
Overall, so far this year, we have raised over $12,000 to support Literacy and Education in our community. We will continue to be champions for this cause because we are helping to build our future leaders and what better way to put Service Above Self!
Byron Rotary Dictionary Project
The Byron Rotary Club helped increase literacy for all of the fourth and fifth graders at Byron Elementary School by providing dictionaries. Twenty Rotarians ordered, transported, and added presentation stickers to 200 dictionaries. Each fourth and fifth grader now has his/her own personal copy to carry and take home.
Rotary Service Scholarship
The Camden County Rotary Club awarded a $1000 college scholarship, which was partially funded by the district grant, to Kelsey Wigger on May 7th, 2021, during a regular club meeting. Kelsey, who was a senior at Camden County High School, has enrolled at Georgia Southern University to study biology. Kelsey was selected on the basis of her community service activities. Six Rotarians were involved in sending application materials to the school and grading applications returned by students.
We acquired and refurbished four newsstands, adapting them for use as book "robots." We stocked the units with books appropriate for young readers and established a mechanism to fund restocking and maintenance of the units. The units were placed at local schools and at a recreation center. This literacy project benefitted 200 young readers. 63 Rotarians participated by refurbishing the book "robots," adapting them for use, and stocking the machines with books. They require routine monitoring and maintenance.
The Dublin Rotary Club delivered dictionaries to all third graders in Dublin-Laurens County schools and home-schooled children and distributed Ben Carson books to each fifth grader in Dublin-Laurens County schools and home-schooled children. 1450 people benefited from this project. The club supported education. We were able to put dictionaries into children's hands so that they can learn new meanings of words and increase their vocabulary. The kids now have a print-rich environment to be able to go to a dictionary to help them in their life. Rotary is planting seeds for the future. The Club also completed the 5th year of our partnership with OFTC by providing copies of Ben Carson's Gifted Hands book to all 5th grade students. While we were not able to visit each classroom, we were able to deliver the books personally to each school (Southwest Laurens, Northwest Laurens, Trinity, Dublin, and East Laurens). This year, the OFTC Rotaract Club designed the bookmarks that were included with each book. In all, 700 books were ordered to be given to each student in 29 fifth-grade classrooms throughout Laurens County. 8 Rotarians delivered dictionaries and Ben Carson books to all schools. Due to Covid restrictions in the schools, we were not able to visit classrooms as we have done in the past, but we were able to have a small group be with the students. We spent a total of approximately 50 hours on both projects. We also judged book reports on the Ben Carson book from each classroom.
To further promote reading comprehension and writing skills, we have requested that all teachers show the video created by Rotary & Rotaract and promote a book report competition for each 5th grade classroom. The Dublin Rotary Club will be donating a $50 gift card to each classroom book report winner. This project took the efforts of many Rotarians and community partners. We should all be proud of the difference this project has the potential to make in the lives of many. The Dublin Rotary Club & OFTC Rotaract Club video to 5th grade students introducing Ben Carson's Gifted Hands book is below, along with links to TV coverage:
Rotary/Rotaract Video: https://shared-assets.adobe.com/link/6d3c7cba-28fd-4470-6768-9da9310e0d01
TV35 coverage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvxYZwix1H0
TV35 segment on dictionary presentation: https://youtu.be/Z-1Uv7GPVu0
Liberty Little Libraries Project
The Hinesville Rotary Club had a service day to install five Free Little Libraries in Liberty County on May 4, 2021. The five locations are:
> Regency Place - to the right of the US Postal mailbox (accessible upon entering the first entrance to the complex) 100 Regency Place
> Cedar Walk at Norwood and Gassaway Streets - next to the US Postal mailbox, in front of 401 Norwood Street, near tan color multiple mailbox
> Cedar Walk at Rebecca Street - next to the US Postal mailbox, in front of 213 Rebecca Street, near a tan color multiple mailbox (Cedar Walk Apartments II)
> Liberty County YMCA, 201 Mary Lou Drive Hinesville, Georgia 31313, over by the Child Care entrance on the side, near a tree trunk, close to the parking lot
> In Bryant Commons, behind the metal building, on the opposite side of the tree, next to the Geocaching post (it looks like a little birdhouse) at 438 W. Oglethorpe Highway, Hinesville, GA 31
The libraries were purchased through freelittlelibrary.org. By buying the supplies from Free Little Library, each local library will be registered and allow anyone to see where our libraries are located. Between January 1, 2021, and February 20, 2021, the club Rotarians built the libraries. Once the libraries were constructed, the club provided 25 books in each library for free access to reading for families in our community.
After each weekly club meeting, a Rotarian will place a new book in a library that has been dedicated to our weekly speaker as a community leader to promote literacy. Liberty County as a whole will benefit from this project. It will increase the opportunity for families to have access to reading materials. By giving access to more books, we will inspire a love of reading, build a stronger Liberty County, and spark creativity. 21 Rotarians participated in the project by providing books for the libraries and then building and placing the libraries in the ground at each location.
Mock Trial Wayne County High School
25 Wayne County High School students participated in debating and legal skill development. They competed in the Mock Trial competition developed by the State Bar of Georgia. The students received important training in public speaking, logic and reasoning, and leadership. Club legal advisor Samantha Jacobs, a member of the Jesup satellite club, helps advise and prepare students for the mock trial competitions. She prepared the students in rehearsal for the courtroom and served as an attorney coach.Arial
Books are purchased and labeled as being donated on behalf of Rotary through grant funds and signed at club meetings by guest speakers. They are then presented to the Twin Lakes Library System as part of the Jill's Books collection sponsored by the Rotary Club of Milledgeville here in Milledgeville/Baldwin County.
Over 200 children and adults are beneficiaries by having free access to reading material to improve their literacy skills within a community that already has a low literacy rate. Over 20 Rotarians participated in the project by placing Rotary emblems in the books, presenting books to guest speakers for their signatures, and then presenting the books to the Twin Lakes Library System.
Rotary ScholarshipThe Rotary Scholarship project benefits local high school students who plan to attend a local area college by awarding them a $1,000 scholarship to assist with the cost of tuition and books. The students must have strong grades and SAT/ACT scores and participate in extracurricular activities or charitable work to support their nomination; in doing so, they exemplify the Rotary Motto "Service Above Self." Scholarship awards are presented at each school's graduation awards ceremony, letting those attending the ceremony know that the scholarships are funded though Milledgeville Rotary club funds and District Grant Funds. Ceremonies were at Baldwin High School, GMC Prep, Georgia College, and John Milledge Academy. The recipients were William Mahan, Baldwin High; Bonnie Elizabeth Swicord, JMA; Mary Katherine Lawrence, GMC; and Nastazia Michele Brown, GC Early College. These funds will help ease the stress of funding their education, thereby allowing them more time to concentrate on being good students by furthering their education and preparing for future leadership within today's world. 10 Rotarian participated in the project by contacting school counselors and sending applications, and reviewing completed applications. After reviewing, the committee members submitted their votes; results were tallied, checks cut, and winners were notified.
Career Path and Advanced Placement Testing Support
The Nashville-Berrien Rotary Club, Rotary District 6920, and The Rotary Foundation provided $1,419.00 to pay the costs of Advanced Placement (AP) tests for 18 Berrien County High School students in need and Career Path (CP) tests for 3 Berrien Academy Students. All students were unable to cover these test costs of the tests. The Berrien Academy received $465 to cover the costs of 3 CP Patient Care Technician certifications. Berrien County High School received $954. These funds covered the tests costs for 5 AP Macro Economics, 5 AP US History, 3 AP Language Arts 3 AP Environmental Science, 1 AP 2-D Art and Design and 1 Calculus AB tests. The Club provided the High School and Berrien Academy checks totaling $1,419.00 on May 3, 2021 for tests that were administered in April/May 2021. Most specifically, the District Grant (DG) of $870.00 provided sufficient funds to cover the cost of 7 Advanced Placement tests and 2 Career Path tests. The Nashville-Berrien Rotary Club contributed $549.00, which covered the remaining tests, adding up to the overall $1,419.00 cost of the project. This project directly benefited the Nashville-Berrien Community by helping to ensure that no talented, motivated student in need in our community will delay or cancel educational AP or CP examinations because of insufficient person funding. 20 Rotarians participated in this project, which directly contributes to the work-ready workforce and economic development by assisting students with obtaining work-related credentials and college course credits. The 21 students and their parents directly benefited from this project.
Summer Reading Books for Local Elementary SchoolsAll students at two elementary schools in Perry, GA were presented with three free summer reading books at the end of the school year. The Club worked with Tucker Elementary School and Morningside Elementary School to receive their input on which books to purchase. Books were purchased through Scholastic Book Clubs and Tucker Elementary School. Rotarians met and inserted stickers of the Rotary Wheel and Perry Rotary Club along with the Four Way Test inside the cover of each book. Rotarians assisted the school in distributing the books at curbside directly to every student in May at the end of the school year. Tucker Elementary School dedicated its "reading room" in memory of Perry Rotarian Dr. Horatio Cabasares. 975 students in PK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 grades received fiction and non-fiction summer reading books. The book titles were selected by the school and were age appropriate based upon school grade level. Students impacted totaled 505 at Tucker Elementary School and 475 at Morningside Elementary School. Books distributed totaled 1,515 at Tucker and 1,517 at Morningside. Rotary funds were used to purchase the books and Rotary decals. Research shows that reading achievement gap between low-income and middle-income students can be as much as 3 years by the end of eighth grade. As much as 80% of this gap can be attributed to low-income students' lack of access to books over the summer months. Perry Rotary has donated books over the past three years, and results over this short time show a significant improvement in reducing the reading level loss over the summer. Reading levels over the summer of 2017 dropped from 61% to 50% "on grade-level." In 2018, the "on grade-level reading skills" dropped from 57% to only 54% - a marked year over year gain. Reading level data was impossible to obtain in the COVID impacted 2020-21 school year. Improving reading ability and reducing illiteracy is the humanitarian need being met. 20 Rotarians placed stickers of the Rotary Wheel with Perry Rotary Club and the Four Way Test inside the covers of every book and attended the Tucker Elementary School reading room dedication in memory of Rotarian Horatio Cabesares, who died as a result of COVID in 2020. Dr. Cabasares was Perry Rotary Club's champion for this summer reading project. They were also on hand at the school to present the books curbside to students and to interact with faculty. "Shelter-in-place" restrictions prevented more Rotarian participation and direct contact with the students and faculty.
Technology Equipment for the Public LibraryThe Sandersville Club purchased and delivered 10 launch pads to the Rosa Tarbutton Library. These educational pads range from preschool reading readiness through fifth grade reading, math at various grade levels, and HS SAT prep. They do not require a Wi-Fi connection, which makes them excellent for households without Wi-Fi. They cannot be used for games, etc. They are checked out of the Library like a book. Over 300 students benefited from this project, including all preschool through high school students in Washington county, plus GED students. Since many students do not have access to additional education opportunities and/or don't have Wi-Fi, this project allows them to supplement in school education at home. Seven Rotarians participated in the project by communicating with the Library and schools as to which launchpads were most needed. They purchased and delivered launch pads, which were presented at a weekly Rotary club meeting. Rosa Tarbutton from the Library worked with the school system and the Rotary Club to see what launch pads were needed.
Savannah Rotary Read-InThe Savannah Rotary Read-In was modified due to COVID related issues. Our physical event was canceled because the schools were in a virtual or modified schedule for the entire year. We were unable to schedule the event but did fulfil our goal of providing books to students in the district. To complete the project, we purchased books recommended by Savannah Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) for all Pre-K to 3rd grade classes in the district. SCCPSS accepted and distributed the books throughout the district. SCCPSS is building its curriculum around the book's theme of encouraging diversity and inclusion. 14,000 students will benefit from the curriculum we are helping to provide. The theme is encouraging and promoting diversity and inclusion through social emotional learning. The Rotary Club of Savannah donated over 2,200 requested books for this project. 10 Rotarians coordinated with SCCPSS to select, purchase, and deliver books to SCCPSS. One of our members gave a generous donation to help fulfill our goal.
Hesse School "COW"
The Skidaway Club funded the purchase of Chromebooks and mice to complete the COW (Computers on Wheels) project it initially funded in 2019-20. COW is a movable cart wired for recharging; it holds 32 Chromebooks, each with a mouse. More than 30 students plus teachers from multiple classrooms at Hesse K-8 School had access to computers. One Club member assisted school staff is implementing the grant. Due to COVID school closure, Club members were not able to participate in student mentoring as planned.
Other past literacy projects include working with Savannah Early Childhood Education - Parent University. In place of gifts meeting speakers sign books that are donated to pre-school age children of Parent University attendees. With 2019-20 District Grant, the Club established a monthly home-delivery book program for Parent University children. Ferst Readers provides all administrative support, logistics and delivery of books. A parent newsletter and guides for crafts and other parent activities are including with each monthly book. Children receive monthly books from date of parent enrollment to their fifth birthday. In 2018 and 2019, the club adopted two entire schools (Hesse K8 and Isle of Hope) for the Savannah Rotary Read-In and each year supplied a total of 45 volunteer readers with books. The Club has engaged in three other literacy projects. P.A.C.K. (People of Action Caring for Kids), knowing that learning requires adequate nutrition and that many children in Savannah Chatham County Public Schools rely on meals at school, provides and delivers "weekend meal bags." Members of our Club help pack meal bags each week and provide financial support. Through its new Boutique, PACK provides clothes, personal hygiene items, books and school supplies to children in the foster system (3 "shopping trips" per year). The YMCA of Coastal Georgia - Y Readers, an after-school program for K-Grade 3 students, received our donated funds to purchase an end-of-year book for every student. Finally, the Club supported Horizons Savannah, a summer camp with reading and math programs, by funding 60 books so every middle school student could have a personal copy and by funding 30 books so every 4th grade student could have a personal copy
The Warner Robins Rotary Club purchased and delivered 2,928 dictionaries for 3rd grade students in the Houston County School System and four private schools. We ensured the dictionaries had labels that read "Knowledge is the Key to Your Future, Compliments of the Warner Robins Rotary Club." They were delivered to five school systems, but due to the pandemic our Rotarians disappointedly could make the actual presentations as in past years. Actual distribution and presentation were completed by school administration. 2928 students benefitted from our project when they received their dictionaries. Our primary objective is to encourage literacy, curiosity, and the joy of learning in Houston County. Regardless of the economic situation, each of the third graders will have the basic element that can open up the world of words and ideas for the very first time, never to be closed again. Since education is one very important key to improving the well-being of all individuals, we hope our dictionaries will be the catalyst to start and encourage the children in our community. In many cases, our dictionaries are the first books they can call their own, so by encouraging and making literacy our goal, dictionaries are also building pride and self-esteem within each student.Michael McNeal was our point of contact who coordinated with the school systems to determine the quantity, and then ordered them through the Dictionary Project. He then made arrangements with Rotarian Stan Blaxton, the Executive Director of Happy Hour Service Center for Exceptional Citizens, to insert the label, "Knowledge is the Key to Your Future, Compliments of the Warner Robins Rotary Club" in each dictionary. Stan then ensured the proper quantities were picked up for the five school systems. Please note, typically we have several Rotarians involved by presenting the dictionaries to each student, but the pandemic prevented that from occurring this year. Happy Hour Service Center for Exceptional Citizens received the dictionaries, and then inserted the aforementioned label.
YMCA Child Learning Center Playground Equipment
The West Chatham-Pooler Rotary Club provided playground equipment for the Pooler YMCA. 200 children at the Pooler YMCA benefited from the donation. Eight Rotarians participated in the project; members came to the playground during and after installation.
Entertainment legend and philanthropist Dolly Parton is in a partnership between her Dollywood Foundation and Rotary International to promote early childhood reading. Preschool children in every county will one day receive age appropriate books to better prepare them for reading and learning success.
RI places a priority on literacy, unfortunately a significant problem in our own Georgia communities, which in many cases have higher illiteracy rates than do provinces in countries such as India.
Dolly Parton Teams
with Rotary International
ATLANTA (March 6, 2009) - Entertainment legend and philanthropist Dolly Parton announced a groundbreaking partnership Friday between her Dollywood Foundation and Rotary International to promote early childhood reading. Preschool children in every county will one day receive age appropriate books to better prepare them for reading and learning success.
The Dictionary Project is a popular choice for District 6920 Rotary Clubs
The Dictionary Project is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. The goal of this program is to assist all students in completing the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers by providing students with their own personal dictionary. The dictionaries are a gift to each student to use at school and at home for years to come. The Dictionary Project gives 95 cents of every dollar donated toward the purchase of dictionaries. Read more at http://www.dictionaryproject.org/ .
members of the Rotary Club of Millen, GA along with primary school teachers
and school board officials during the 1991-92 Rotary year. This fantastic
coloring book teaches children all about the virtues of The Four-Way Test with stories that they can easily relate to. The target group is first or
second grade students. Provide these coloring books to the same grade every
year. Teachers love them! In Stock Now!