Posted by Craig Gillis, District Governor 2018-19

Welcome to  Basic Education and Literacy Month

September 8 is United Nations' International Literacy Day to raise people's awareness of and concern for literacy issues in the world.
Each month the Rotary Calendar introduces us to the ‘Seasons of Rotary’. When we think of September ….there are many memories and stories that emerge…..many related to that time of year when we again begin to excitedly think of education and the return to school.   September in a Rotary year is a month dedicated to ‘Basic Education and Literacy’.   How proud we are to know that in so many ways our clubs promote education and literacy, not only in our home communities, but also for those with less advantage and opportunity in our larger world.
Photo Caption:  Campbell River Daybreak Scholarship recipients 2018

$733 625+

Recently, I surveyed our District Rotary clubs to ask for an estimate of how many dollars were awarded as ‘Scholarships’ in the past year.   64 clubs responded----that total appears above.   I estimate that last year District 5020 clubs contributed $1 000 000 in cash scholarship awards----what a great investment in the future of our youth and those continuing their educational journey.   Thank You!
Rotarians embrace opportunities to promote education and literacy.   Over the years we have learned that literacy break a cycle of poverty or open doors to new and exciting life opportunities.   As Rotarians we…
  • Initiate district wide Literacy Awards to promote engagement in literacy initiatives (see District website for the District 5020 Literacy Award Application)
  • Fund campaigns that donate books to children
  • Acknowledge individuals as the ‘Rotary Student of the Month’
  • Provide food for school breakfast or lunch programs ensuring students are well nourished and ready to learn
  • Implement summer reading programs to minimize summer reading loss
  • Participate in a ‘Rotarians Read’ program as guest readers
  • Fund initiatives to help communities and schools supplement literacy resources
  • Hold book sales to put books in the hands of voracious readers and raise funds for local projects
  • Develop educational resources that guide effective literacy strategies….
  • (“I Love When You Read”; “I Love When We Count”…..)
  • Share research knowledge of how to assist struggling readers
  • Tutor students and adults who need literacy support
  • Showcase education and literacy through our speaker programs
  • Donate dictionaries to students
  • Provide scholarship dollars to assist student in their learning journey

I applaud your Rotary club for its heartfelt efforts … and hope you will continue to explore literacy initiatives through the criteria identified in our District 5020 ‘Suggested Activities for Literacy Awards”.   District Literacy Co-Chairs Judy Henderson (Rotary Club of Olympia) and Anita Wotschel (Courtenay Rotary Club) are eager to assist in any way and hope you will qualify your club for an award this year.     Back by popular interest is the ‘District Governor’s Book Drive’ initiated last year by Laurie Carroll.  This initiative asks each club to donate a minimum of 2 books per Rotarian to a local or global need----in short,  wherever books are needed.   At our District Conference in May awards will be given to the club ‘in each Area’ who has raised the largest per capita donation. 
Public education is a gift we offer all of our children and many adults in District 5020.  At times we forget what a remarkable opportunity we provide for all students.   Our efforts as Rotarians often create ‘value added’ support for our most vulnerable and acknowledgement for our most motivated learners.   Together we make a tremendous difference----and help to open doors to experiences and opportunities. 
On behalf of all those who benefit from your time and resources----a sincere thank you.   You provide that much needed motivation and inspiration that makes a difference in life journeys.  Together we are celebrating Basic Education and Literacy every day of our Rotary year!
DG Craig