Jim Cherrington is a former president of the Columbia Metro Rotary Club.
Late last month, Columbia Metro Rotary presented its annual Literacy Development Award to the Columbia Public Schools’ Title I program. The $1,500 award was presented to Mary Rook, program supervisor, surrounded by a group of Title I Early Childhood students at Field School.
Columbia Metro is part of Rotary International, a global network of community volunteers who provide humanitarian service and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Rotary Clubs meet weekly and are nonpolitical, nonreligious and open to men and women of all cultures, races and creeds.
The Columbia Metro Rotary Club established a Partner in Education relationship with the Columbia Public Schools’ Title I program in April 2003. I was concluding my year as president of the club, and I was excited about the opportunity to be the first Rotary club in Columbia to establish such a program.
Literacy programs are a major emphasis of Rotary International, and Metro was pleased to help local students and teachers address this issue. Since 2003, Metro Rotarians have volunteered countless hours each year reading to Columbia’s elementary and pre-school students and/or listening to students read.
In addition, our fundraising efforts have generated thousands of dollars allowing reading materials and other literacy aids to be purchased for local students.
While our club may not have a huge fund balance available for large financial contributions each year, we do have dedicated members who are willing to spend one-on-one time with students and help them with their literacy needs. This has been a very worthwhile endeavor, and I am confident our members enjoy the process as much as the students and teachers.
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