The goal of this program is to assist all students in becoming good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners by providing them with their own personal dictionary. The dictionaries are a gift to each student to use at school and at home for years to come. Educators see third grade as the dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn, so we encourage our sponsors to give dictionaries each year to children in the third grade.
With the support of local sponsors and volunteers, we want to provide a dictionary to every student in the United States. In this way we hope to help them to improve their communication skills and make the most of their education. Many of our sponsors are also taking the Dictionary Project beyond the United States, to help improve literacy worldwide.
According to the United States’ Internal Revenue Service, an organization is tax-exempt if it is organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes and none of its earnings go to a private individual. In addition, a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code may not attempt to influence legislation or participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.
Mary has a bachelor’s degree in English with a political science minor from Charleston Southern University. She has been the Director of the Dictionary Project since 1995. She has written and published The Dictionary of Wisdom, The Best Dictionary for Students, A Student’s Dictionary, A Student’s Dictionary, Canadian Edition, A Student’s Dictionary & Gazetteer, Canadian Edition, and with the help of Karan and Siddarth Rai, A Student’s Dictionary & Animal Gazetteer. Mary enjoys reading, walking, and traveling. Her favorite thing about her job is listening to people talk about their experiences implementing the Dictionary Project.
Elizabeth graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor of science degree in accounting. She worked in public accounting as a CPA for 23 years. She is The Dictionary Project’s Director of Operations. She enjoys reading, travel, gardening, and boating. “I really enjoy getting to talk with sponsors across the U.S., and I love visiting classrooms to distribute dictionaries to students.”
Barbara Moushon lives just north of Columbus, GA. The fall of 2019 marks the 15th year she has spearheaded the Dictionary Project for the 31 public elementary schools in Columbus. She is the Director of the Certified Literate Community Program for Columbus Technical College and the Executive Director of a local non-profit, Literacy Alliance, where she has been since 2004.
Barbara serves as the President for the Professional Association for Georgia’s Certified Literate Community Program (CLCP) and is the chair for both the Harris County and Stewart County Family Connections. The Certified Literate Community Program (CLCP) and Family Connections are both Georgia initiatives which are designed to facilitate delivering services to improve the quality of life for Georgia residents. She is also involved with the Rotary literacy programs in her district. Recently Barbara was on the advisory committee for the Georgia Literacy Commission and is currently is on the steering committee for Early Language and Literacy for Columbus’ Talented and Educated People campaign. Barbara is the only state CLCP director to receive the Georgia Press Association/Barbara Loar award for ‘Excellence in a Certified Literate Community Program’ two times; in 2014 and 2017.
In his spare time, Gary enjoys attending live concerts and doing some lake fishing for trout or largemouth bass. He was married in 1975 to his darling Terri for 42 years. Gary is devoted to spending time with his two children, their spouses and his three fine grandsons.
By profession, Gary Pollmiller is a retired Commercial Fine Art and Product Photographer following a fulfilling and rewarding 40-year career.
Rotary Club of Parsons, Kansas:
Gary joined the Rotary Club of Parsons, Kansas on May 1, 1988 and served as the club’s newsletter editor; as his club’s Secretary for 11 years; and as the Club’s President for the 2003-2004 Rotary year. He serves as the chair of his club’s Dictionary Project from 2001-current.
Rotary District 6110:
Pollmiller has served as an Assistant Governor, representing six District Governors. In 2001, he began service as the Kansas representative for District 6110’s Dictionary Project, under the committee chairmanship of Stanley Dixon. In March of 2006, Gary became committee chair of the District 6110 Literacy/Dictionary Project and continues today.
He was on the Board of Directors of the Medical Supplies Network, Inc. from 2011-2015, another worthwhile international project of District 6110.
Gary is a Sustaining Rotary Foundation donor, Rotary Benefactor and is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow.
Believing that a community is only as good as what one puts into it, Gary Pollmiller has been very active in his church family, his children’s educational organizations, and in community organizations.
In 1989, with a goal to bring the “thrill of live performance” to the Parsons community, he helped found the Parsons Area Concert Association as a charter board member, and served for 25 years, serving in offices of president and publicity chair.
Since 1983, “Santa Gary” has annually visited elementary school classrooms, the Parsons Public Library and private homes in his ‘ministry’ of listening to children’s dreams with his portrayal of the jolly old elf.