First Year to Volunteer: The provisional Rotary Club of Rochester Southeast NY

The provisional Rotary Club of Rochester Southeast NY formed in the spring of 2014. The group is comprised of individuals who want to participate in Rotary service projects and give back to people in their community. The group is hopeful to receive their charter once twenty members commit to becoming Rotarians in the Rochester Southeast NY club.

To advance the club’s commitment to literacy, members decided to include The Dictionary Project, which has been sponsored by countless clubs in District 7120 over the years. Then acting president of provisional Rochester Southeast NY, Rotarian Dave ‘Bippy’ Boyer, worked closely with the principal and librarian of Pinnacle School 35 on Field Street in Rochester. The school requested to receive an English-Spanish Dictionary and The Best Dictionary for Students for selected third grade readers. Boyer noted that Pinnacle School 35 has many students who speak Spanish as their native language, and it was felt that having both dictionaries would be beneficial to children in their studies and at home. Teachers also appreciate having both resources in the classroom. “The provisional Rotary Club of Rochester Southeast NY prepared labels for the dictionaries including the Rotary ‘Four Way Test’ of ethical standards every Rotarian in the world tries their best to live by,” said Boyer.

On February 13, 2015, five members from the community visited Pinnacle School 35 and presented the dictionaries to students and teachers of four third grade classrooms. ESOL students were given the English-Spanish book and their Spanish-speaking teacher explained how to use the dictionary and asked them to look up the word, “EAGER.”  “Each student is encouraged to be EAGER to learn all the time throughout their lives,” said Boyer. Additionally, over seventy students received The Best Dictionary for Students and members explained the purpose and benefit of owning a dictionary. Boyer mentioned the importance of sponsors actually coming into the classroom and making a presentation. “Interacting with students leaves a lasting impact on that child’s life,” he said. As proof of their gratitude, students sent optional creative notes and thank you letters to Rochester Southeast NY Rotarians. One teacher, Ms. Flores, said, “It means a lot to me to have the community help our students with their education. Thank you for the dictionaries and showing us how to write ‘best friends’ in Japanese. Hope to see you all again.”

The provisional Rotary Club of Rochester Southeast NY was able to participate in the project with the help of nearby clubs. Kevin Kinnally, treasurer of the Rotary Club of Monroe (County) South NY presented Boyer with a $50.00 donation on distribution day. The Rotary Club of Honeoye Falls-Mendon NY also made a $135.00 donation by simply passing the hat at their dinner meeting. These generous donations were done to improve the literacy and reading ability of city students. This goes to show the effect of individuals in a community collaborating to achieve a common goal. The Dictionary Project is excited not only when new groups and relationships are formed in a community, but also when children across the country are given the gift of a personal dictionary.