Yep, I’m standing in a sea of “back to school” backpacks which is where my mind went when I looked up our RI Theme for this month: “Basic Education and Literacy.”  Because I’m hoping that my club (Plymouth, NH) will get involved in a literacy project with our new Children’s Learning Center in town, and remembering years past when other clubs I have been a part of did different things to help kids get off to a great start in the new school year, I thought I’d reach out to our current club presidents and ask what kinds of things their clubs are involved in to support education and literacy.  And the response I got (which also included some photographs) made me so proud of what Rotarians are doing locally and globally as we Serve to Change Lives!
Here they are in their own words:
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For over 20 years, every first grader in the Lebanon School District received a personalize book called, When I Grow Up.  The book is individualized to reflect things of importance to the child.  Due to COVID we were unable to deliver the books in person, but the school shared pictures of the joy of the children reading the books and finding that they book was about the child. A very real introduction to reading at a young age.
The school district gave us permission to use this image.  Diane Estes tells me they have permission from parents to be able to use the images.
Colchester-Milton Rotary has a long standing reading project at the Milton Schools where Rotarians and Milton HS Interact students read to first and second grade students twice a year. Of course, that was canceled last year. My plan as Youth Services Chair is to revive this in November IF things have returned to normal and we are allowed into the school building. We will certainly focus on literacy when we are able!  Kevin Endres
The Williston/Richmond Rotary Club has developed, with a local band, a music video to promote and encourage COVID vaccinations.
We continue to financially support the Connecting Youth Mentoring Program (CYMP) through the Williston Central School. CYMP promotes 1:1 relationships between middle school students and caring adult volunteers for weekly in-school meeting time involving a variety of activities chosen by the student/adult match.
We continue to provide funds to students in need so that they may purchase books during the school book fairs.
We award 2-3 scholarships to high school seniors each year in the amount of $1000.
We provide 2-3 students with the RYLA opportunity each year.
We provide financial assistance each year to our local library for programming of their choice (bookmobile, technology, book donations, programming support)--we ask them to let us know what works best for them vs imposing our agenda.
Promote and support Vermont Reads, a statewide community reading program sponsored by Vermont Humanities.
We have provided grant writing assistance to our local library to support their programming needs.
Bristol Rotary has a program of reading and giving a book to 1st graders that has been individually written based upon a questionnaire sent home to parents.
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The Rotary Club of Hanover NH is assisting ACTS Honduras to support childhood literacy in the El Rosario region of Honduras. Our board recently designated ACTS Honduras as an international partner with our club. In 2019, one of our members visited El Rosario and, since then, has been regularly in contact with locals who operate the region's library. Yesterday, five of our members met with four ACTS Honduras volunteers to brainstorm ways in which we might expand our club's support with a specific emphasis on education and agriculture.
We have a great literacy project with an upcoming fundraising event.  For 8 years, give or take, the Burlington Sunrise Rotary has sponsored Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library project in Burlington.  Dolly’s organization buys the books from publishers and mails them, we cover the cost of about $2.35 per book to send them to any child in the city of Burlington who has signed up, and we’ve partnered with the hospital to help get Burlington kids signed up on their “0th” birthday.  We’ve helped distribute 35,000+ books to date.
We held our “First Annual” Rotary Spelling Bee in August of 2019.  With a goal of expanding the reach of the program to neighboring communities, we’ve partnered with the Rotary Club of Burlington to expand our fundraising and organizing capability.
On Thursday, September 30, our two clubs will hold the “Second Inaugural” Rotary Spelling Bee at UVM. 
The Vergennes Rotary has sponsored “Booked for Bikes” for over 20 years. Each child reads a book and puts a chance to win for every book she/he reads. They win a bike, tablets, and many other prizes. We have an average of 80 readers each year! Very successful and is funded by our Club.
We (St. Johnsbury Rotary) have a great partnership with our local library, the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum. For many years, we have had club members volunteer as guest readers at their story time once a month. This was paused during COVID but has since resumed. Our members read to kids on the last Friday of everything month, and all who take part greatly enjoy their time together.  I’ve attached a couple of photos for you. In addition, we donate a book to the youth library for each speaker who joins us at our meetings. The speaker is recognized with a book plate in the front of the donated book that has their name, topic and date of their presentation.
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The Middlebury Club has been helping the United Way for the last few years both financially and hands on.  They purchase backpacks and school supplies which are stuffed into each one and then they are distributed to K-12 students in need at several local schools including, Middlebury, Vergennes and Bristol.  Attached is a picture of Middlebury Rotarian (and secretary) Steve Williams with some of the backpacks this year
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These are the stories and pictures I received by press time for this Newsletter, and I am sure there are dozens more out there in our District to share.  (For Sherbrooke Rotary Club’s efforts, see the “Featured Club” article.)  Thanks for all you are doing to improve the lives of children, youth, and adults through programs and projects that lead to brighter futures for all.
DG Mike