The local Dictionary Project is well underway, and we suspect there were a lot of smiling faces on the 3rd graders throughout District 7470. And, because of the response from several Rotary Clubs to our Children of Africa Project (COA) there will be smiles on the faces of children in Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Rwanda. We can expect more smiles in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Peru through a program of the Blairstown Rotary Club. Thus far 14 clubs have donated and/or pledged approximately 1,500 dictionaries. If your club wishes to participate it is important to contact John Deermount, AG (Montclair), Bob Pityo PDG (Cedar Grove), Diana Krajewski (Blairstown) or Dick Wallace, PDG (Blairstown) and let them know of your intent and the quantity being donated. They will help you through the process. If you wish to have someone visit your club just let them know to schedule it.
The first dictionary shipment, donated by the Blairstown, Rockaway, Lake Hopatcong, Glen Ridge, and West Orange Rotary Clubs, for the Children of Africa will be leaving in October bound for Sierra Leone. Through the help of the African Youth and Health Outreach Program, lead by Mariama and Mohammed Sangarie, who live in Bartonsville, PA, four schools will receive the dictionaries. Mariama and Mohammed will travel to Sierra Leone to meet each container and distribute our dictionaries as well as other items.
Rotary COA is more than dictionaries:
Mariama Sangarie mentioned to Dick Wallace that the children of Sierra Leone were in need of "slightly used" sneakers, t-shirts or polo shirts. Many children come to school barefoot or without shirts. Mariama asked if our Rotary Club could help out. When that question is asked of Rotarians there is only one answer. Dick spoke to the Blairstown Rotarians and the Interact Club. One week later, at the Blairstown Rotary Club meeting, the club members along with the Blairstown Interact Club presented Mohammed with a truckload of sneakers, sandals, and t-shirts. At the end of the evening, the African Youth and Health Outreach Program received clothing and over 400 dictionaries. When Mohammed went home that night, he immediately called Dick Wallace to say he wants to become a Rotarian. That is all the "Thanks" we need.
Rotary COA donates desks & chairs:
Blairstown Rotary has been sending dictionaries to Africa, Dominican Republic, and Haiti through the Foundation for Peace (www.foundationforpeace.org) for many years. This year as Blairstown Rotarians were preparing the usual dictionary donation, the Foundation asked if Blairstown could help to furnish three new Haitian schools. There was a special need for desks and chairs. Time was of the essence since a container was shipping in two weeks. Two calls later a friend of a Rotarian led us to Dean Matt Connell at Northampton Community College (NCC) in Tannersville, PA. Dean Connell donated 70 desk and chairs. Within a week Rotarians had picked up and delivered the desks and chairs to the Foundation for Peace container. May the children of Haiti study hard and use their dictionaries — literally supported by the gifts from Rotary and the NCC community.
Projects and services, as those described, are inherent in Rotary and instill in Rotarians the realization that Rotary is truly our ‘Passport to People’ as we travel through a life in service to others. Enjoy the trip.