Largest book distribution ever highlights Philadelphia Rotary Fall literacy effort

 During the fall of 2010, the Rotary Club of Philadelphia completed its largest annual distribution ever of dictionaries and thesauruses as “personal gifts” to students at five Philadelphia schools. Additionally, the Philadelphia Rotarians also donated quantities of Spanish to English dictionaries, atlases and The Spirited Adventure of Philadelphia to school libraries. This effort involved the purchase of nearly 2,000 books from The Dictionary Project, which were donated to individual students in different parts of Philadelphia. Book distribution events were held at the Thurgood Marshall School, the Pennell School, the William Cramp School, the Lea School, and the Potter-Thomas School.
“Trying to make some small impact in improving literacy competency is a major priority of Rotary International which oversees 32,000 Rotary clubs around the world in 200 countries,” noted Matt Tae, the literacy chairperson for the Rotary Club of Philadelphia. “Our Philadelphia Rotary recognizes the immense needs in the inner city, and we have responded by making this outreach program bigger every year. And the reality is that the message to these children that someone cares is as just as important as the present of a book.”
More than 25 Philadelphia Rotary members as well as several Rotary Ambassador Scholars and Philadelphia Rotaract members contributed to the success of this project in one way or another— affixing “Donated by the Rotary Club of Philadelphia” labels, delivering the books to the five schools, or participating in the ceremonial book distributions at the schools. As a special highlight, a member of the Rotary Club of Nottingham (UK) joined the Rotary delegation presenting books at the Thurgood Marshall School.
“I want to thank the many members who stepped up and participated in this Philadelphia Rotary signature project,” said Philadelphia Rotary president Joe Batory. “More than the service aspect of this effort, the message to inner city children from this initiative was that someone cares! The amount of gratitude and appreciation we have received from the schools has been overwhelming.”