Literacy is an international focus for Rotary. Monday, November 12th, kicks off American Education Week in the Waukegan Public Schools and the first Rotary Reads sessions will take place at McCall and Cooke Schools and the last at Lyon School on Friday, November 16th. The Rotary Club of Waukegan and the Libertyville Sunrise Rotary Club teamed up to celebrate American Education Week in a special way with the Rotary Reads Program. Together the clubs have recruited 91 volunteers from their own ranks, family and friends and from the Waukegan Park District, Waukegan Public Library, Olson Heating, North Shore Bank and Trust, Waukegan Main Street and the Coalicíon de Lake County. Volunteers will read in 12 Waukegan elementary schools to 1,979 students, in 91 classrooms, grades one through three.
In addition to reading during the week of November 12th, the clubs are donating books to each classroom and the school libraries. The books were selected by teachers and the Waukegan Public Library. The 2,298 books are provided through matching funds from the Libertyville Sunrise Rotary Club ($2,650) and the Rotary Club of Waukegan ($2,500). Through its Partners In Parks initiative, the Waukegan Park District supported the project by donating “Josh the Otter,” a book about water safety, and special tote bags made of recycled materials for each classroom and library, a contribution valued at $1,000.
The clubs extend their thanks and appreciation to all who volunteered with this project. Special thanks to the Waukegan Public Library; all of the books have nameplates acknowledging the Rotary Clubs. Library staff also assembled the packages of books for the 103 tote bags that will be distributed to classrooms and libraries. Thanks to Waukegan Park District employees who labeled the “Josh the Otter “books and identified and distributed bags to the team leaders for schools, classrooms, and libraries. Finally, without the assistance of the Waukegan Public School District, especially Kelly Kuechle and Marilyn Krajenta, who coordinated schedules with the principals and teachers, this project would not have been possible. Thank you!
The Rotary Reads Project began in Libertyville and has been coordinated by Steve Risley from the Libertyville Sunrise Rotary Club. This year, the Libertyville Sunrise Club wished to extend the program and they reached out to the Rotary Club of Waukegan to develop a Rotary Reads Program in Waukegan elementary schools. The Waukegan club enthusiastically welcomed the project with member, Alicia Mentell, from the Waukegan Park District, volunteering to serve as coordinator. The Libertyville Sunrise Rotary Club President Bob Zamor stated that “ Rotary is the world’s largest service organization and is committed to improving literacy; to have our Rotarians, their families and friends from these neighboring clubs work so well together to improve their communities is what Rotary is all about.” The Rotary Club of Waukegan President Dr. Donald Bastiste, who also serves as the Superintendent of Waukegan Public School District 60, has long been a leader in improving literacy and was instrumental in bringing this program to Waukegan. For further information, these clubs can be contacted at www.libertyvillesunrise rotary.com and www.waukeganrotaryclub.org.