Fall is upon us! In the world of Rotary, September is Basic Education and Literacy Month, one of The Rotary Foundation’s seven areas of focus.
We know that basic education and literacy are essential for reducing poverty, improving health, encouraging community and economic development, and promoting peace. More than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. That’s 17 percent of the world’s adult population.
Consider these facts:
  • If all women completed primary education, there would be 66% fewer maternal deaths
  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five
  • If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty, which would be equivalent to a 12% cut in world poverty
Rotary Offers Opportunities to bring education and literacy to individuals throughout the world. Our club should be very proud of our support of this important Rotary Foundation Area of Focus. In 2015, we were able to complete the building of 3 classrooms for the Patewo Primary School in Tororo, Uganda. RAHtarians Lisa Kobs & Laura Lee traveled to Africa to see the construction of the classrooms and interact first hand with the students and teachers benefiting from our contributions.
We built the Little Free Library in front of Hamilton Elementary School. It is filled with children’s books, allowing them the opportunity to go up grab a free book if they want…. a great way to spread literacy in our community. In 2016, we were able to provide materials and supplies for English as a Second Language program in Panama. Earlier this year, our club supported a $5000 contribution to the Wheels of Hope project that will fund a bus to provide safe transportation for girls attending Razia Jan’s Zabuli Education Center in Afghanistan. It will allow the girls to receive an education and break the cycle of forced marriages, something their own mothers weren’t afforded. And lastly, just a few weeks ago, we raised over $2200 to purchase and assemble 156 backpacks filled with school supplies for local kids in need. If you have a new idea for our club to help make an IMPACT in this area of focus (or any), let’s talk! “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” –Dr. Seuss  
August was a really busy month of seizing opportunities to make the world a better place. James Murray led a bike social around town. A big shout out to Katelyn & Emily and the Service Committee for organizing several small safe group volunteer opportunities, including: Two sessions at The Parenting Place, Hixon invasive species removal, the stuffing and donation of 156 backpacks to local kids in need and a highway clean-up.
For the first time in months, we gathered for our club meeting in person (& virtually!) at the Riverside Bandshell where we toasted being with one another in person. We celebrated Madeline Behringer as our August Rotarian of the Month, expanded our REACH and welcomed two new members, Stephanie and Nkichi and recognized three- James, Jeremy & Josh, for their contributions to the Rotary Foundation with Paul Harris Fellows. It was SO great to see and ENGAGE with so many of you in person. We will continue to ADAPT and hope to do another outdoor hybrid meeting in the very near future! 
Rotary offers endless opportunities. I recently drove by a sign that reminds passer byes to “QUIETLY SCATTER GOOD.” It’s an honor and brings me joy to work beside you all, to quietly scatter good and help change the world.
With gratitude,
Marissa Dickinson