Ray Pompey P.E.R. of Lancaster Elks Lodge #1625 first heard of the "Dictionary Project" found in the Elks Magazine in the latter to mid part of the year 2004. He had decided right then that this was a project direly needed for the 3rd graders of Antelope Valley. Our area is a farming community comprised of farmers, their workers, and the working class of folks who travel to Los Angeles, Bakersfield or Victorville, etc. All these families have children and a lot of those children are in need, where the families cannot afford to purchase such a book as these dictionaries.
Ray thought about how he could possibly purchase the dictionaries and came up with an idea, so that it would not make a cost burden on our Lodge and its members. So he started "Monday Noodle Night" at the Lodge. His concept was the choice of two pasta dishes. The cost of the dictionaries has come and continues from the sales of those meals. The participants have been Elk members, the Emblem Club ladies, their families and guests, as well as donations from our community.
Upon receipt of the dictionaries, Ray, Jerry Mundell and volunteers apply stickers to the inside flap of the dictionaries, so that the 3rd graders can put their name, date when received, the name of their teacher and school.
After Ray and his pasta partner Jerry contact and make an appointment with the various school districts for their approval of the dictionary program, they then contact and make appointments with the school principals and the teachers so the dictionaries can be given out within a reasonable time. Ray, at each of the third grade school rooms explains what is found within the dictionary and the then Jerry explains about the Elks Drug Awareness Program. They spend approximately ten to fifteen minutes in every class room, or as a group of about three to five classrooms in their gym/cafeteria areas. Each child is given their dictionary personally by Ray and Jerry, and with help from other volunteers, when applicable.
We have ten (10) School Districts, consisting of over 60 elementary schools within our area. Since the inception date of February 6, 2006 and up to July 2010, we have distributed 16,447 dictionaries to our third graders. Approximately 30 to 40 Elk volunteers have helped in labeling the dictionaries and inserting drug awareness book marks, and/or have helped in their distribution.
Elks Dictionary Chairman