This past week, fifth graders at the Walton School in Auburn, ME, received new dictionaries: a gift from the Lewiston Elks Lodge #371, as part of a nationwide campaign to assist students in becoming better writers, active readers, and creative thinkers. The dictionaries were paid for through a donation from Paradis Mechanical LLC. Distributing the books were Exalted Ruler (President) Kathleen Cotterly and Past Exalted Ruler (Past President) Karen Staples. In 2002-2003, the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks adopted this project as one of its many nationwide youth-oriented programs, and has encouraged each of its subordinate Lodges to participate by purchasing the dictionaries and delivering them to students at local schools. Over the past few years, according to the Dictionary Project’s statistics, the Lodges of the Maine Elks Association have donated a total of 22,901 dictionaries to students across the state, of which the Lewiston Elks Lodge has donated just over 2,000 dictionaries.
The Dictionary Project is a non-profit organization based in Charleston, South Carolina, that has distributed over 17.1 million books nationwide since its inception in 1995, with 2.3 million dictionaries donated in 2011.
The Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks is a fraternal organization made up of nearly one million men and women from across the United States. The organization provides service to local communities through programs that promote Americanism, and supports our nation’s youth and its veterans. In addition to the Dictionary Project, the Elks sponsor a national Hoop Shoot Competition, Soccer Shoot Contest, Americanism Essay Contests, a Drug Awareness program, and offer several Scholarships. To learn more about the Elks, visit elks.org or maineelks.org. For more information about the dictionary project, visit www.dictionaryproject.org.