In the fall of 2013 the literacy committee, made up of 10 Rotarians, met several times to identify a future literacy project.  Many ideas were discussed, including partnering with Link to Libraries to provide Kindergarten Literacy Book Bags, Create a Pre-School Read Aloud Program or to partner with a local school that is in need.
By a unanimous decision, it was decided that we would enter into a partnership with Dr. Marcella A. Kelly Full Service Community School to help improve literacy.  This school was chosen because it is in the poorest community in the city and has no real ability to raise extra funds through their parent group.  Citing the theory that children learn to read through grade three and read to learn in grades four and beyond, we are concentrating our efforts on grades kindergarten through third grade.
Members of the literacy committee met with the leadership team at Kelly School multiple times to discuss how best we can assist.  Many ideas were discussed, including classroom assistants, afterschool tutoring, staffing family nights, and the use of our backpacks from our prior project.  After much discussion it was determined that the school was in great need of tablets.  Having tablets for use in the classroom allows students to work independently on very specific tasks that can be assigned individually to students.  It also brings the library into every classroom, allowing students to take a tablet to a corner of the room and curl up with a book.  The tablets primary use is for literacy in grades K thru 3.  However, they can easily be used for math as well as time allows, giving them a dual purpose.
In 2014, the Holyoke Rotary Club committed a minimum of $6,000 annually for five years for the purchase of tablets.  $6,000 will cover the cost of 10 tablets including 4 year accidental warranty on each one.  Given the age of the students using the tablets, it was felt that the warranty was an important component.  Upon completion of this pledge, we will have provided 50 tablets to Kelly School for use in grades K through 3...a gift of which we can all be proud.